Positions of the dog’s tail
The messages that a dog wants to transmit are reinforced by their voice and facial expressions. When a dog is in a tranquil state, its tail is relaxed. A dominant dog lifts its tail above it torso, but if it has friendly intentions, it wags its tail from one side to the other. This usually indicates that the dog is happy. When a dog is tense, it’s tail stands upwards, however, if the dog is shy, inhibited, or feels inferior to something or someone, it puts it’s tail in between it’s back legs in order to cover its genitals.
One of the most efficient communications behaviors of a dog that wants to impose him dominance over a stranger, is through direct contact of the eyes. Whenever two dogs meet for the first time, the one of them only has but to turn away or look away from the other dog, and this then establishes the social status of both. Keep in mind though that this only occurs for dogs that meet for the first time; if the one (human or dog) that had once demonstrated itself as being the submissive one, now fixes its eyes on the other dog, the dog can sometimes confuse and interpret this as a threat by reacting in a violent way and biting. On the other hand a dominant dog that does not look away and keeps his eyes fixed on the other dog or person, sometimes shows its threat by growling and showing its teeth. Whenever you are disciplining your dog, don’t be alarmed if the dog looks at your face and then turns away: the dog is just recognizing that you are in charge; insist on getting your dogs attention and maintain eye contact with him, even at risk of confusing your dog even more who may at first not understand the conduct or the reproach. In the normal everyday relationship with your dog keep in mind that often times your dog will stare at you in order to let you know that it wants something such as a cuddle or cookie, and isn’t trying to dominate you and is staring at you without any threatening intentions.