Dogs still display all of the strong social instincts of the wolf. They are
pack animals that have a need to establish a pecking order within the group.
Modern dogs spend most of their time with humans and will come to view their
human family as their pack. The need to establish order will exist within
this modern human/dog "pack".
Dog behavior is hierarchical; however, certain members of a pack may switch
roles depending on need. It is therefore important for you to obtain the
role of the pack leader in every situation. You can only achieve this
if you can get your dog to trust you.
Socialization and other dogs
It is important to socialize the puppy to other dogs, so that he will
learn how to act socially and not give mixed signals to other dogs. If he
doesn’t learn to communicate with other dogs, it will cause problems later.
Certain breeds are more difficult to "read" than other dogs. Dogs with
floppy ears will not provide ear position cues. Dogs with heavy facial fur
make it difficult to interpret facial signals. It is therefore very
important for your puppy to learn to behave socially and learn all the
various cues and signals.
If your Newfoundland, being a big dog, gives mixed signals, the other dogs
won’t be able to read him and it will cause confusion and fights.
It is important for you to learn dog signals also. That way you will be able
to communicate with him better and “read” what his behavior is saying.
Tail low, wagging, face licking, nuzzling, rolling over, displaying
belly/groin, urinating, averting gaze, crouching
This dog is acknowledging its lower status in the hierarchy by exhibiting
puppy-like body language. If the dominant animal (or person) does not accept
these gestures and continues to crowd or press the subordinate dog, the
subordinate dog may go as far as to rollover and urinate on itself. This is
the ultimate sign of submission.
Tail erect, stiff legged walk, head held high, ears up, direct eye contact
This does not necessarily mean that the dog will bite, but that he has a
high opinion of its self and may not acknowledge another animal’s/human’s
Signals for play:
Front legs extended, chest lowered to ground, ears back, yapping, rump in
the air, tail up and wagging
This dog is "inviting" another dog or person to join him in a play session.
He is making himself less threatening by making himself smaller and is using
puppy sounds (yap) to let all concerned know that romping is about to take
place, not fighting.
About to bite:
Ears back, lips drawn back, head and neck extended, tail up, standing
tall, hackles up, eye contact
This dog is positioning itself for an attack on the vulnerable jugular
area of the enemy and making itself large by body posture. It is indicating
with the facial expression that a bite is about to come.