Your dog's communication ladder

The communication ladder is a tool designed to help us to stay safe around dogs. Dogs can’t talk to us to tell us how they are feeling, they have to show us using their body language. Dogs don’t want to bite us –if we understand their body language, we’ll know if it’s safe to interact with them.

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Use the communication ladder when you’re interacting with your dog. Remember, if they’re showing any of these signs they’re asking to be left alone.

1. Biting

2. Snapping

3. Growling

4. Stiffening up and staring

5. Lying down with one leg up

6. Standing crouched with tail tucked under

7. Creeping with ears back

8. Walking away

9. Turning their body away and sitting pawing

10. Turning their head away

11. Yawning, blinking, nose licking