I do think humans are pretty good at reading dog body language, though. I read somewhere that if animated movies include canine characters, most humans will notice inconsistencies, so it's a challenge for the animators. I think it was the movie 'Babe' that was mentioned but I can't find any references to this on the Net.
However, in searching, I found lots of sites about dog body language.
'A dog's eyes are the windows to his soul'.
This quote by Turid Rugaas headed a page at Australian Canine Current Events where there is a huge list of sites dealing with dog body language.
I followed the link to Turid Rugaas' site and found an article called
‘Calming signals: the art of survival’ There are plenty of photos of dogs using different calming signals. They're in the link called 'Gallery'.
Paws Across America also had a good discussion of how to interpret dogs’ body language.
The UK ‘dog listener’ Stan Rawlinson, says that we need to realise that our dogs don't think as we do:
We are further hampered by the fact that we tend to think that our pets can understand complex thought patterns; we assume a dog's level of understanding is on a par with our own. This is known as “anthropomorphism”, the dictionary definition is “The attribution of human motivation, characteristics, or behaviour to nonhuman organisms or inanimate objects”. It is a bit like saying that a vine climbed up the tree to getter a better view of the garden.
In all my searching about on the Net at least I was reassured about the treatment of the animals used in the filming of the movie 'Babe'.
I guess the site that I found the most fascinating was one where there are instruction on how to make an animated movie (at a simple level) of your dog talking. I think it would be great fun, but I bet it would be harder than it looks. Still, it might be fun to try...