I found this rather interesting. It’s from Karen Fazio who’s a professional dog trainer here in New Jersey. Some common canine gestures and their hidden meanings. If only my dad, who was a letter carrier in Rahway, NJ most of his life, had had this list.

Turning the head away: Peaceful intentions. Avoiding possible conflict. Prevents eye contact, which most dogs find threatening.

Lip licking: Peaceful intentions. Calms a social group, eases tension. But it also may precede a bite from a fearful dog.

Yawning: Stress reducer. Commonly observed at the veterinarian’s office or at the groomer.

Tail positions: Up means confidence. Down signals a relaxed or submissive state. Between legs means fear. Wagging with entire body signals joy. Wagging without the body indicates stress, interest or excitement.

Raised hackles: The dog feels threatened or is overstimulated.

Shivering: Fear, tension or overstimulated.

Paw lift: Forward weight distribution signals a friendly state or begging. Rear weight distribution could indicate fear or distrust.

Closed mouth: Precedes bite. Helps gain scent, conveys seriousness.

Open mouth: Relaxed.

Grimace: Tense jaw muscles with mouth pulled back at corners exposing canines or all teeth signals fear, excitement or aggression.

Whale eye (whites of eyes visible, dilated pupils): Conveys fear or aggression.

Presenting stomach: Laying squarely on back with paws over center of chest signals submission or trust. On side, lifting one hind leg indicates fear, apprehension or fearful submission.

Sneeze: During or after enjoyable activity signals happiness.

Bowing: Means the dog is playful.

Breathing: Through stomach signals a relaxed state. Through chest indicates excitment or stress.

Sniffing ground: This is a calming signal that shows peaceful intent, relief of stress or an attempt to gain a scent.

Freezing: Signals the dog is contemplating a fight or flight.

Drooling: During the presence of food means the dog is hungry. During stressful situations signals fear and, for dogs that suffer car-sickness, often precedes vomiting.

Meanwhile, just for fun, here’s a video of a guy and a dog that don’t have any trouble communicating...