Dogsitters Tips – Dog’s body language and how to read it

25 Aug, 2021

Dogsitters Tips – Dog’s body language and how to read it

Spread the love

Every pet owner who has owned a dog knows that it takes time to learn the personality and behaviour of their dog. Here is a blog for dog minders, with a number of dogsitters tips to understanding a dog’s body language. It will help you fast trach your understanding of what your dog is doing and thinking.

And if you are house sitting for dogs because you are a regular home and dog sitter or dog sitting for the first time, read on to learn more.

Dogsitters tips – With special notes for the in home dog sitter

dogsitters tips
Sometimes the eyes have it!

Do you know your dog well? Do you understand their every whimper and bark? If not, then this article is for you. Here are some experienced dogsitters tips on how to better understand your dog by reading their body language. Whether you are looking after small dog breeds, medium or large consider these tips as a way to learn more about dog behaviour.

It will only take a few minutes of your time to learn these skills, but they will help make sure that the dog in your life is happy and healthy! Reading this blog should be on every dogsitters checklist

Dog house sitter – Read the different types of body signals 

There are many dog body language signals and their meanings. One of the fun things to do while dog sitting is to see if you can read the dog’s body language while you are caring for them.  These are especially useful dogsitting tips for beginners.  For example – 

  • The dog’s ears can tell you the dog’s mood
  • A dog might show his teeth when he is feeling threatened

Use these dogsitters tips to read your dog’s body language

You must know how to read your dog’s body language in order to understand him better. It is important for people who share a home with dogs, so this article will help you learn how to do it and also what the dog might be trying to say if he does certain things.

You’ve probably said to yourself multiple times: I’m wondering why does my dog stare at me? and many others have done that before. That’s why it’s important to recognize every sign your furry friend gives you.

The dog’s tail tells a story

The tail can tell many things about the dog and its mood. Reading the movements of the tail is one of the really important dogsitters tips.

  • Low tail – A dog with his tail low means that they are feeling dejected or scared while an upright tail shows confidence. If the dog has its tail between its legs, then it may be afraid of something or not feel well enough to get up when being called by name.
  • A wagging dog tail – Usually this indicates happiness but there could still be mixed emotions based on other cues like where their ears are pointing (forward or back) if they’re panting, and another body language.
  • A dog who is curled up on the ground with his tail tucked between his legs – This usually indicates that he feels threatened while a dog leaning against something may just be feeling relaxed.

A dog’s stare has meaning

If your dog stares at you for an extended period of time without blinking, then it could mean different things depending on their ears position. Reading the dog stare is one of the most valuable dogsitters tips.

  • Forward learning ears – attentive dog
  • Ears pulled back – lethargic dog
  • Side hanging ears – If your dog has its ears positioned to the side of their head instead of the front should indicate confusion. A tilted head might also indicate curiosity but don’t forget about all those other clues like facial expression! It’s better to have too many signs than not enough when trying to read dog body language.
dogsitters tips
Other times the dog’s inflection is more pronounced

A wagging tail can have many meanings –

If the tail is wagging high or low it could mean a whole variety of things about their mood or their anticipation. Take a moment to consider what the tail is doing and what the other related signs are about the dog’s behaviour; this is one of the valuable dogsitters tips – 

  • How close they stand from people (or another dog), 
  • Whether they lick their lips before eating food or not, 
  • Growling, 
  • Snarling  
  • Yelping
  • “Quivering” of fur around eyes 
  • “Pawing” at the ground 
  • Tucking tail between legs
Understand these dogsitters tips to learn how dogs communicate

You have no choice but to establish communication with your pet dog. They don’t speak English, but dog body language can tell you how they’re feeling and what they want from us humans.

Without this first step, dog owners can’t hope to be good dog parents. Once you know how to communicate with your dog, you can work on understanding what they want out of life.

A dog is an animal that needs to be loved and provided for, but it also deserves the opportunity to have a well-balanced lifestyle. To do this, dog owners must not only know how to communicate with their dog, but they also need to understand dog body language and learn about canine social behavior.  Learning and applying these dogsitters tips can help owner and dogsitter to better manage the relationship with the pet. 

The importance of understanding a dog’s body language when training them 

When in the process of training a dog, it is important to not only teach them commands and keep their attention on you but also understand what they are telling you. Dogs communicate through body language and paying close attention to these signals during training sessions will help better the bond you have with your dog in general. 

This simple act of understanding a dog’s body language can make all the difference in how well trained your dog becomes. It could be as easy as noticing that when he or she doesn’t want something they turn away from it instead of towards it, yawning often means this animal is feeling bored or anxious, while loose lips indicate a hunger for food or water 

What growling really means

Another way dogs use body language is taking notice of growling which usually indicates fearfulness although some breeds such as the dog breed, Pit Bull can use growling as a warning. In addition to body language, there are other ways you can tell what your dog is feeling or thinking.

For instance, if he or she has their ears back they could be scared of something and means for you to step away from them while lowered ears indicate that this animal feels contented 

Are they playing with you?

Dogs also communicate through playing which often starts with an invitation like a shake of the tailor wagging and when it comes to playtime dogs will usually show who’s boss by chasing after one another until someone submits before initiating contact such as tackling each other in a game of tug-of-war.

Throughout all these interactions between owner and dog, reading body language becomes second nature which will help you in the process of training your dog. This is how you get a happy and healthy dog.

Signs that a pet may be in pain or suffering from an illness

Probably the most important thing about reading a dog’s body language is to know when the dog is in pain or feeling ill. If it avoids going up and downstairs, walks stiffly on their paws, cries out with every step they take, or has trouble getting into a car then you may have found your answer to why the dog is not moving normally.

Reading the signs of illness

A dog that doesn’t want to go outside anymore because of how it feels could also be an indicator that something isn’t right. They can suffer from arthritis just like people do so there are signs for this as well: the dog will limp, show stiffness in its legs after resting (more than usual), whine while lying down, and try to avoid jumping onto furniture by hopping instead of stretching upwards.

The best way to find out if your dog has an illness or is in pain is to ask the veterinarian. They will be able to give you a diagnosis and prescribe treatment for whatever it might be that’s causing this behaviour shift.

Petsitting – the kennel alternative

If you are involved in petsitting for the dog or dogs in question, then prepare for the pet sitting assignment.  Home pet sitting is a great kennel alternative. There are various ways you can do this.

  • Pet meet and greet – get to know the dog before the owner goes away. Let them get used to you
  • Dog walking with the dog owner – go on a reasonably long dog walk so you can observe some of the behaviours
  • Observe the dog’s interaction with other dogs – this will help you to understand what is their usual response to triggers
  • See the dog in their own home – this is also useful to understand them at ease, and for them to see you in their home
  • Feed the dog – if you can do a dog feeding when the owner is in the house, this will help you fully understand the routine
  • Dogsitting by the dog house sitter – When you are petsitting for dogs a lot more may be demanded of you than if you were petsitting for guinea pigs or rabbits. Dogs usually want engagement, they need exercise, and they need to be fed according to their routine schedules. Some dogs will demand more attention from you than others. There are varying demands and behaviours to observe also that vary from large dogs to small dogs. Working dogs, game or hunting dogs need even more exercise and attention to keep them healthy and happy.

Learning how to manage and read dog behaviour can be especially important when babysitting a dog with separation anxiety.

Pet sitting for dogs – Regular house and dogsitter and in home dog sitter

If you are a regular house and dogsitter you will know to ensure that you have talked to the dog owner. Find out if there are any dogsitters tips they can give you regarding their dog’s behaviour. However, if you are new to house and dogsitting then make a point of taking a detailed brief. The dog you are about to care for may have particular habits and dog behaviours that you are not familiar with.

If you are in a long term house sitting assignment you will have time to develop a deeper relationship with the dog. This means the dog behaviours become more familiar to you and often you will be able to predict their reaction to particular situations. Being their live in dog sitter gives you an advantage to build that strong bond with them over time.

Dogsitters tips – A final word

There, now you know the importance of reading the dog’s sign language and how to understand and recognize their signals. These dogsitters tips are invaluable for fast track learning to read a dog’s behaviour. Communication with your pooch is very beneficial and it might save their life. It is especially important to understand how to get your dog ready for a dogsitter. Remember to always pay attention and especially in training.

These tips will help you have a happy and healthy dog. 

Further reading about dogs, dogsitting with Housesitmatch

At we always try to share useful and informative blogs and practical advice with our members. Read on to find some helpful articles with useful tips for dog owners and dogsitters about dogsitting.

What is dogsitting with Housesitmatch

Dog sit – What does it mean and where can you go?

Dogsitting in Cornwall – Joys and responsibilities

The Affordable Alternative to Dog Kennels

What is House Sitting?


Spread the love


Founder and Director of HouseSitMatch - I'm a hands-on Admin on the site. Please ask any questions and as soon as I can I'll happily answer and assist where I can.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.