By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Your dog’s body language conveys so much information. It’s up to us to learn to read the signals.

One of those messages is simply a call to playtime. It’s relatively easy to read your dog’s body language when they want to play.

First, there’s the ever-popular Play Bow, the clearest of all signals, both to us and also to each other. This is when your dog lowers his/her head and the entire front part of his body down to the floor with his front paws extended, (most likely with tail wagging wildly!) while his tail and hindquarters remain high in the air. If your dog postures in this way, feel privileged, as it’s your special invitation to play.

Bouncing is another way of conveying playtime. This is most common in puppies but adults can still be a “pup at heart” and continue this gesture, regardless of age or size, but depending upon the breed’s physical flexibility. This is when the two front paws quickly come up off the ground and pounce in quick repetition. Sometimes the dog will quickly run a short distance and run right back to you.

Look for those special signals, respond accordingly and let the playtime begin! Just remember that when playtime ends, create a pathway for your dog to relax, refocus and regain a calm state. Overly excitable energy can turn into a stressful state when introduced to something new.

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