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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.     

Submissive signals:
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.

Dominant signals:
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 dominance.

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.



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