A dog that is strong in temperament and on the dominant side will display body signals that tend to make him/her look imposing and large. They are easy to read and include the dog standing squarely on all four legs. You will also notice the head and tail held high as well as the ears strongly erect depending on breed. They will move forward stiffly and confidently with a direct stare. You may also notice the dog place his head on the shoulders of another dog. Basically the dog is communicating to its opponent that, “I am the boss here and I do challenge you.” One thing to be aware of as a dog handler is if the opponent takes a frigid stance with direct eye contact and the body is slightly lowered in the front and forward expect an immediate fight unless you intervene in a millisecond.

On the opposite end of the spectrum a dog with a soft temperament will display behavior in much the opposite way. Look for a lowered head and ears flat against the head. The dog may roll on its side or back and expose its under belly and genitals. The tail may be tucked between the legs. They may be slinking low towards the other dog or person actually trying to make themselves look smaller. In this situation the dog is often saying, “Look I am no threat, can’t you see by my subordinate behavior and my attempt to appease you?” If the dog rolls on his back and urinates it is the ultimate sign of submission.