This information can be used to gauge how your pet is feeling in a variety of situations. The following graphics use the acronym FAS for Fear, Anxiety, and Stress. If you notice that your pet is feeling fearful, anxious, or stressed, be their advocate and speak for them! Not everyone can “read” a dog or cat, and you know your pet best. It is worth protecting your pet’s emotional well-being, even if someone else sees it as unnecessary or rude.
In addition to knowing what their body language is telling you, it can also be helpful knowing what their behavior is telling you. When dogs are feeling afraid, conflicted, or worried, they often will often fidget, not be interested in food, or take food with more force/more roughly. When they are really worried, they will often freeze in place or try to run away. Often, a dog who freezes in fear (similar to “if I just stand here still maybe they will go away”) is often interpreted as a dog who is standing nicely in compliance. This is a big difference! By being their advocate, you can help your dog have happy experiences in new situations.