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How To Interpret Your Small Dog's Communication Cues

Cute dog smiling

What is your dog telling you?

With extensive experience, our seasoned Dog Nannies at Mary Puppins Luxury dog home boarding are fluent in the language of dogs and possess the know-how to ensure every tail wags with delight. They've kindly shared valuable insights into interpreting doggy body language, helping us better grasp the nuances of canine communication. Recognising a content small breed dog is easy when you see that cheerful wagging tail.

However, there are countless subtle ways our furry family members express their emotions that often go unnoticed.

The Stretch

While stretching is sometimes just a physiological need, it can also double as a friendly "hello" to us humans.

The Shake

Dogs literally "shake it off," using this action as a means to de-stress and release pent-up energy.

The Bow

Considered the politest invitation for a playful interaction with both human and canine friends alike.

Midway Ears

Ears positioned halfway down and not entirely flat signal to other dogs, "I'm a friendly and easygoing companion."


While scratching can be a simple itch-relief mechanism, it can also indicate mild stress. Take note of other signs like a lowered tail and ears.

Backing Up

If your dog turns their back to you, it might seem like a temperamental act. However, this gesture often signifies respect.

Key Strategies for Introducing New Dog Training Plan Ahead

Prioritise clarity by determining the specific actions you want your dog to perform and the corresponding command. Consistency aids in smoother learning.

Optimal Environment

For optimal learning, select a serene and quiet training spot that helps your dog focus.

Reward System

Incorporating rewards is pivotal for reinforcing desired behaviour and enhancing the enjoyment of training. Shower praise when they excel!


Dogs thrive on learning, but their attention span is limited. Keep sessions concise to retain their engagement.


Maintain consistency in communication by employing the same words and gestures during training to minimise confusion. Ensuring seamless transitions for our dogs as routines shift back to normalcy is crucial.

By being attuned to their unique communication cues and offering tailored training, we can ensure our four-legged companions feel comfortable and cared for.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. For specific veterinary dog health advice, contact a veterinary pet healthcare provider

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mary puppins expert small dog breeds uk

Kate Phillips, Chief Editor

BSc (Hons), MSc

Kate is the UK's very own Mary Puppins, a professional Dog Nanny and expert in small breed dogs. With over 30 years' experience and successfully helping high profile celebrity pet parents raise their furry families, Kate shares her top tips with you. Kate guides readers on small breed dogs, dog health, dog training, dog nutrition, dog food, dog walks, dog accessories, dog enrichment, rescue dogs, dog behaviour, dog grooming and the best products for dog mums and dog dads to create the ultimate luxury lifestyle for their small dogs.


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We provide free, useful information for pet parents of small dog breeds UK. 

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We all love our small dogs! And want them to live a long and happy life. 

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