What’s in a Wag?: Decoding Dog Talk in DC

Tail Talk Table

Flyer of event with image of two dogs, title in bold font, and text bubbles with event time and description

As in any city, DC dogs and people cohabitate in oft-times tight spaces. In this environment, being armed with even a basic understanding of how dogs communicate could reduce stress on the animals, and help to avoid confrontations with neighbors and other members of the community. 


Winner of an Awesome Foundation DC grant, “Decoding Dog Talk” is a series of pop-up “Tail Talk” tables at dog parks and recreation areas across the city where residents will be provided with free information, diagrams and mini-demos to help them get a grasp on basic principles of canine communication during dog-dog play. Visitors will learn that there are lots of ways to “hear” what dogs are trying to tell us (and each other), even though they don’t use spoken language. 


About the Organizer: 

Courtney Sexton is a long-time DC resident and a current doctoral student at The George Washington University Department of Anthropology’s Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology (CASHP), where she studies the coevolution of humans and dogs. Her research focuses on nonverbal communication and behavior, and links between domestication and behavior. This educational outreach project is intended to empower people to play a more active role in increasing the quality of life for the dogs who bring joy to so many in our community by being more educated neighbors and guardians.


“Decoding Dog Talk” is made possible with support from the Center for Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology, Awesome Foundation - DC Chapter, and the Humane Rescue Alliance.

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