Do you know what your dog is saying?

Dogs attempt to communicate through body language, facial expressions, and posture. Understanding what your dog is attempting to communicate goes a long way in keeping your pet happy while preventing all from getting snapped (the wrong signal or bad communication) at despite the dog giving you ample signals as to their present mood. For the most part, dogs offer up eight messages including relaxed, alert, aggressive, fearful, stressed, worried, submissive, and playful. All provide what the dog is thinking, feeling, and are used consciously and unconsciously to communicate.

Here is what to look for some of these moods:


A relaxed dog is approachable as you will identify by the ears pointing up, tail down, mouth open, head high, and a loose stance as the dog’s weight will be flat on their feet. A dog providing this message is content in their present environment including any activities going on in the immediate area.


A dog that is on the alert and checking things out you will see their tail pointed out horizontally and moving from side to side, ears forward, eyes wide, mouth closed, and leaning slightly forward. A dog in this state has found something that has grabbed their interest and will assess whether it is a threat or if action will need to be taken against it.


An aggressive dog is letting everyone know of their social dominance as well as putting out a threat to you that they will become aggressive if challenging their territory. The tail of the dog will be raised, stiff and may quiver, ears will be forward, forehead can show vertical wrinkles, nose wrinkled, teeth will be visible, mouth open, lips curled, and will present a stiff-legged stance.


Dogs under stress are struggling either socially or due to the present environment. More times than naught, the dog is not directing their stress to an individual but instead outlining their present state of mind.


A dog that is worried will offer up signs of submission. In this state, you will find that the dog sees their situation, or the individual that they are up against is potentially a perceived threat.


A dog this is worried wants to avoid any further challenges and is trying to prevent any conflict. The dog’s tail will be down, body lowered, ears back, eye contact will be brief, and paw will be raised. You will find that the dog will have sweaty paws and will lick at their face of the more dominant dog.


A dog that is fearful will submit and totally surrender. You will see that a fearful dog is accepting their lower status and the threatening dog or individual will be avoided so no further confrontation is made. This dog will roll on their back exposing their stomach, ears will be back, head turned to avoid any eye contact, the corner of the mouth will be back, and you may see a few drops of urine.


Playful dogs are excited, bark, and are inviting you to join in on their good mood. The dog’s tail and ears will be raised, mouth open with tongue exposed, and the front end of the dog will be lowered by bent forepaws.

Remember it is important to understand what your dog is attempting to communicate because it will keep your pet happy. Dogs offer up eight messages including relaxed, alert, aggressive, fearful, stressed, worried, submissive, and playful. If you know how they communicate those moods then you will be better at understanding what your dog is communicating to you.

Dog Wash Fundraiser for Fur-Angel Foundation

If you are a pet parent, you know how quickly pets become a beloved part of the family. While there are thousands of animals on Oahu that are privileged enough to have a home and be a part of a family, there are also hundreds of furry orphans looking for a home. The Fur-Angel Foundation is not just another shelter, but a community action network that seeks to help find fur-ever homes for orphaned pups by working with a network of interim caregivers.

Many abandoned dogs come from abusive or neglectful environments or have been bounced from home to home. This can make them less trusting and harder to place. In addition, when puppies are not cared for and trained properly, they can grow into adult dogs that lack even the most basic training such as urinating outdoors or sitting on command. Lack of basic training can often get even the most loving adult dogs sent quickly back to shelters.

The Fur-Angel Foundation knows they will have a far easier time helping well-trained and trusting canine friends find fur-ever homes, which is why they send them to foster homes first. In their foster homes, they not only receive care, affection, and attention but also basic obedience training and health care.

Fostering dogs is more expensive than keeping them in a shelter, however, and the Fur-Angel Foundation seeks to provide foster volunteers with everything they need to help prepare their canine companions to find a fur-ever home.

Pets in the City believes strongly in the work that the Fur-Angel foundation does and we are hosting a dog wash fundraiser to help raise money to support this vital effort. Treat your own fur-angel to a luxurious spa day and help an orphaned fur-angel in the process.

The fundraiser will be held on June 24, from 9am to 3pm. Pre-sale tickets are available, just call 808-593-1505 to reserve. You can also RSVP on Facebook here.   And of course, walk-ins are welcome!

Hope to see you there!

How to Prepare your Pet for Boarding

If the idea of leaving your dog at a boarding kennel makes you anxious, you’re not alone. Handing your beloved pet into the care of others and worrying about how they will deal with the separation can be stressful. Fortunately, there are a number of steps that you can take to prepare yourself and your dog for what can be, if handled carefully, a calm or even enjoyable experience.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

Planning ahead for the day when you need to leave your dog at a kennel will save you from scrambling when the time is short. Call ahead or stop by to find out about:

  • Vaccination requirements – In addition to ensuring that your dog’s regular vaccinations are up to date, ask about any additional vaccines that may be required including bordetella, commonly known as kennel cough. Since vaccinating your dog will not provide him with instant immunity, ask how far in advance he should be immunized prior to his planned stay.
  • Medication protocols – If your dog requires any sort of regular medication, ensure that the staff is capable of storing and administering it properly.
  • Drop-off and pick-up times – Be certain that you are clear on the hours of operation. While many boarding facilities have staff available day and night to care for their canine guests, that doesn’t mean the lobby always open.

Once you’ve gathered the details of the kennel’s requirements, be forthcoming in providing specifics about your pet, such as how they typically react to strangers and how they behave around other dogs. Exchanging as much information as possible and getting the necessities squared away in advance will reduce your anxiety, allowing you to focus on keeping your dog calm and happy at check-in.

Schedule a Doggy Daycare Meet and Greet

Perhaps the best way to reassure yourself that your dog will be fine in your absence is to schedule a short doggy daycare session at a time when there is no pressure. Many dogs love socializing so much that doggy daycare becomes a welcomed regular activity for them even when boarding is unnecessary. The ability to play, socialize and interact with other dogs in a safely monitored environment is a great perk for canines who otherwise have few opportunities to interact freely with others of their kind. If you keep the first session short so that your dog does not become overly stimulated or exhausted, you might find that they genuinely look forward to the days when they get to play and hang out with their friends.

Comforts of Home

When the play session has ended and your dog takes a break in their private room, they might like a few reminders of home to comfort them in their down time. Ask the kennel staff what items are allowed, such as:

  • Toys
  • Treats
  • Food
  • Bedding

Consider also bringing an old article of clothing with your scent on it to remind them that you’re not far away.

Your dog is a member of your family, and they look at you for guidance and reassurance. Call ahead and schedule a play session today, then confidently show them that doggy daycare is nothing to fear. Soon it will become a pleasurable outing that they will regard with joyful anticipation.