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The Best Breakfast Spot in All 50 States

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Whether or not breakfast is the most important meal of the day, where you choose to break your nightly fast is an important decision. To help you determine where to grab that morning bite, we've made a list of the best breakfast spot in all 50 states. And no matter what type of morning meal you prefer—a cup of strong coffee with a croissant or a full plate of eggs, bacon, and potatoes—we’ve got you covered.

1. ALABAMA // FARMERS MARKET CAFE

Location: Montgomery, Alabama

Farmers Market Cafe is serious about breakfast. Starting bright and early at 5:30 a.m., you can order authentic southern breakfast foods like biscuits and gravy, grits, and fried green tomatoes, made fresh every day.

2. ALASKA // SNOW CITY CAFE

Location: Anchorage, Alaska

This downtown brunch spot offers an espresso counter, "crabby" omelets with snow crab, and the Kodiak Benedict with Alaska king crab cakes. If you love salmon, order the sockeye smoked salmon cakes with two eggs, any style. Voted best breakfast in 2003, they've been serving Anchorage with delicious meals, including vegan and gluten-free options, since 1998.

3. ARIZONA // MORNING GLORY CAFÉ

Location: Phoenix, Arizona

Located on the grounds of the Farm at South Mountain, Morning Glory Café is a beautiful, relaxing farm-to-table breakfast and brunch spot to enjoy your first meal of the day. Lounge on the outdoor patio and chow down on the house-smoked trout omelet, huevos rancheros with chorizo, locally made sausages, or the brioche French toast.

4. ARKANSAS // RICK'S BAKERY

Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas

Sweet-tooths can browse Rick's selection of birthday and wedding cakes (or post-breakfast treats like caramel apple turnovers and cream horns) while starting the day with a more substantive ham-and-cheese croissant or sausage roll—a smoked sausage filled with cheese and served in a homemade bread roll.

5. CALIFORNIA // ARIZMENDI BAKERY

Location: San Francisco, California

Besides coffee, espresso, and tea, Arizmendi serves stellar breads and pastries. The worker-owned cooperative sells freshly baked muffins, scones, and sourdough bread with unique flavor combinations such as corn-cherry and fig-fennel, just a few blocks from Golden Gate Park.

6. COLORADO // VILLAGE COFFEE SHOP

Location: Boulder, Colorado

At only 890 square feet, this coffee shop starts serving breakfast at 5:30 a.m. and continues for the next 10 hours. That way, even late risers can partake in a stack of fluffy buttermilk or blueberry pancakes, sides like sausage gravy and golden hash browns, or the breakfast burrito (which is smothered in pork green chili).

7. CONNECTICUT // BELLA'S CAFE

Location: New Haven, Connecticut

Bella's Cafe focuses on seasonal ingredients, stylish presentation, and what they call "upscale comfort food." You can’t go wrong with the omelets and pancakes, but consider the corned beef hash or a side of sweet plantains with sour cream for something extra special.

8. DELAWARE // NEWARK DELI AND BAGELS

Location: Newark, Delaware

Newark Deli and Bagels is a Delaware favorite for good reason: you simply can’t beat their bagels. Get a sun-dried tomato or onion bagel and top it with your choice of their homemade gourmet cream cheeses, apple butter, or sliced lox.

9. FLORIDA // ANDY'S FLOUR POWER CAFÉ AND BAKERY

Location: Panama City, Florida

Andy’s Flour Power is all about delicious, homemade food. You can build your own omelet, but the "I Want It All" omelet gives you a taste of everything—bacon, ham, cheddar cheese, onions, mushrooms, spinach, peppers, and tomatoes. And of course, all of that flour power is poured into the bakery, which offers plenty of muffins, rolls, walnut raisin bread, and baklava. Arrive early and bring your appetite.

10. GEORGIA // WEST EGG CAFÉ

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

This Atlanta cafe, named in honor of The Great Gatsby, serves breakfast all day and gives diners a unique take on modern southern food. The sour cream pancakes are served with syrup and spiced honey butter, and the fried green tomato wrap comes with roasted garlic grits.

11. HAWAII // LONGHI’S

Location: Multiple locations, Hawaii

With restaurants on Maui and Oahu, Longhi’s has been a Hawaiian culinary institution since 1976. Since they have access to the best fresh fruit available, having a standard yogurt and granola becomes a heightened experience when you can add a fresh Maui pineapple or papaya. Or, get your guava or passionfruit fix as a mimosa mixer, and go with the also-local banana macadamia nut pancakes for the main course.

12. IDAHO // BACON

Location: Boise, Idaho

Situated in downtown Boise, Bacon offers five flavors of bacon and sells more than eight tons of bacon each year. If you find yourself at this casual spot, try a Bloody Mary and the Boise Basin omelet, which comes with bacon, cheese, onion, and pepper. Plus, Happy Hour is served all day on Mondays (though, with that much bacon on the menu, isn't every hour happy hour?).

13. ILLINOIS // OVER EASY

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Illinois is home to many great breakfast spots, but Over Easy might be the best. To satisfy your sweet tooth, order the candy apple French toast. If you’re lucky, the Fleur-de-Sel Fig French Toast—which is so exclusive it's only served one week each year—will be on the menu. This limited-time special dish features fig jam, hazelnut pastry cream, raspberry coulis, and warm fleur-de-sel salted caramel.

14. INDIANA // CAFÉ PATACHOU

Location: Multiple locations, Indiana

With locations in Indianapolis and Carmel, Café Patachou serves a stellar breakfast to hungry hoosiers. Omelets and broken yolks (two runny eggs) come with toast and a small arugula salad, and the apple fritter French toast is topped with cinnamon sugar.

15. IOWA // DOWNTOWN CENTRAL PERK

Location: Davenport, Iowa

All the menu items at this coffee house and juice bar are vegetarian (and can be made vegan), but carnivores will find plenty of tasty options. Sip on the banana blueberry smoothie, savor a specialty Intelligentsia coffee drink, or eat the breakfast pizza, topped with scrambled eggs, potatoes, and Soyausage.

16. KANSAS // BANJO’S CAFE

Location: Topeka, Kansas

Since the 1980s, Banjo’s has fed hungry diners in a casual, down-home environment. The inexpensive diner—which is known for their huge portions and steaming hot coffee—serves popular items such as homemade buttermilk biscuits with country-style sausage gravy and cinnamon rolls. And be sure to try the chicken fried steak bowl, a local favorite.

17. KENTUCKY // GOLD RUSH CAFE

Location: Paducah, Kentucky

If you like meat with your breakfast, Gold Rush Cafe is the place to go. Their bacon cheeseburger skillet omelet and breakfast burger melts are rich and decadent, but the meatloaf omelet is truly an original. It comes with meatloaf bits, veggies, cheese, and barbecue sauce. If the thought of that much breakfast meat is giving you the sweats, try the bread pudding waffles with baked cinnamon apples on the side.

18. LOUISIANA // SLIM GOODIES DINER

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

Although you might find a long line at Slim Goodies, this breakfast is definitely worth the wait. Choose to eat at the counter, in the dining rooms, or on the garden patio, but be sure to order The SinkHole, "the mother of all omelets." It's made with three eggs, cheddar and feta cheeses, chopped bacon, sausage, ham, and veggies, and topped with salsa, jalapeños, and sour cream.

19. MAINE // MAINE DINER

Location: Wells, Maine

Six million customers have eaten at this homey diner since 1983, and for good reason. The homemade biscuit and sausage gravy will stick to your ribs, and the lobster benedict and fresh lobster quiche will make your taste buds appreciate their famous local seafood.

20. MARYLAND // BLUE MOON CAFE

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore’s Blue Moon Cafe serves breakfast and brunch classics like fluffy omelets, French toast, and egg sandwiches, but you don’t want to miss their specialty pancakes. Try the bacon and apple pancakes for a sweet yet savory dish.

21. MASSACHUSETTS // ANDY'S DINER

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

This Cambridge diner has been a casual dining neighborhood staple since 1958. Some of Andy's weekly breakfast specials (served all day) include banana bread French toast and cranberry pumpkin pancakes. Try the Cambridge Classic: French toast with two eggs, sausage, bacon, and coffee.

22. MICHIGAN // THE JAGGED FORK

Location: Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan

If you like to get creative with breakfast, head to The Jagged Fork. Sip on freshly squeezed orange juice while you decide whether to order the graham cracker-crusted French toast (with a cream cheese frosting) or the Reuben crepe, which is stuffed with corned beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese.

23. MINNESOTA // GOOD DAY CAFE

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Featured on Food Network’s episode "Best. Breakfast. Ever.," Good Day Cafe is the only way to start your day in Minneapolis. Order a chocolate caramel espresso or smoothie, and save room for bakery items like sticky caramel pecan buns and beignets. You may want to end your day there, too. The Bad Day Bar serves up cheap apps, wine, and cocktails every day from 4 to 6 p.m.

24. MISSISSIPPI // THE BAYVIEW GOURMET

Location: Ocean Springs, Mississippi

If boozy breakfasts are your thing, take advantage of the brunch cocktails at The Bayview Gourmet. While you enjoy your Bloody Mary, Irish coffee, or mimosa, chow down on the Ocean Springs wrap, which contains shrimp, crab meat, scrambled eggs, scallions, and cheese.

25. MISSOURI // THE BRUNCHEONETTE

Location: Joplin, Missouri

Although The Bruncheonette has a small menu and tiny seating area, the flavors are larger than life. Start your day (Wednesday through Sunday) with half a bruleed ruby red grapefruit before moving on to the homemade drop biscuits with chorizo, bacon, and gravy. Or try their buttermilk pancakes topped with housemade 80-Acre beer syrup made with beer from Missouri-favorite Boulevard Brewing Company.

26. MONTANA // CAFE ZYDECO

Location: Multiple locations, Montana

This Montana cafe (with four locations in Helena, Billings, Missoula, and Bozeman) gives northern residents a convenient way to satisfy their cravings for deep-south Cajun cooking. Order the crawfish omelet and, if you happen to be there on a Saturday, try their ridiculously tasty beignets.

27. NEBRASKA // BAILEY'S

Location: Omaha, Nebraska

Bailey’s provides Omahans with a casual place to dig into comforting, homemade food. Begin your breakfast with a bacon Bloody Mary or Bailey's coffee (named for the restaurant, but spiked with Bailey's Irish Cream), and try the Porkasaurus, a massive plate of ham steak, sausage links, Canadian bacon, Andouille sausage, bacon, red taters, eggs, a biscuit, sausage gravy, and cheese.

28. NEVADA // KIMMIE'S COFFEE CUP

Location: Reno, Nevada

Since 2011, Kimmie's has made dishes that feature fresh produce and never-frozen beef. Although the banana pecan pancakes are popular, you don’t want to miss the bacon avocado benedict, made with cherrywood smoked bacon.

29. NEW HAMPSHIRE // RIVERWALK CAFE & MUSIC BAR

Location: Nashua, New Hampshire

This café doubles as a music venue, and the coffee—fair trade and roasted on site—is just as heavenly as the live music is. Get the Chunky Spunky Monkey, a blend of espresso, chocolate, milk, banana, and peanut butter or try an egg sandwich with feta, spinach, tomatoes, and pesto.

30. NEW JERSEY // HIDDEN GROUNDS COFFEE

Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey

Since 2013, Hidden Grounds Coffee has provided freshly ground coffee, espresso, and bakery items to hungry patrons. While the coffee is exceptional, you’ll want to nibble on some of the spot’s creative foods, like the banana chai loaf, or sandwiches like the spicy grilled cheese or the savory melty bagel egg and cheese with Sriracha and honey drizzle.

31. NEW MEXICO // TECOLOTE

Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico

This family-owned restaurant serves an authentic Southwestern breakfast. If you find yourself at Tecolote, order the Huevos Yucatecos, a corn tortilla with black beans, eggs, Swiss and feta cheese, pico de gallo, and fried bananas.

32. NEW YORK // JACK'S WIFE FREDA

Location: New York, New York

Although Jack’s Wife Freda is open all day, you’ll want to arrive early to order from the breakfast menu. This modern, healthy Mediterranean spot (with two locations in Manhattan) serves an excellent green shakshuka with challah toast, as well as poached eggs with grilled tomato and haloumi.

33. NORTH CAROLINA // STACKS KITCHEN

Location: Multiple locations, North Carolina

Luckily, Stacks (located in Waxhaw and Matthews) serves breakfast all day to hungry diners. While their omelets and skillets are popular, you can’t go wrong with the banana walnut waffles or chocolate chip pancakes topped with strawberries and whipped cream.

34. NORTH DAKOTA // LONNIE’S ROADHOUSE CAFÉ

Location: Williston, North Dakota

This café cooks hearty, down-to-earth breakfast staples like chicken fried steak, hash browns, and biscuits and gravy. The walls and ceiling are decorated with ads for local businesses, creating a unique dining atmosphere. Pro tip: Get a side order of the kielbasa.

35. OHIO // KATALINA'S

Location: Columbus, Ohio

At this café, housed in a 100-year-old gas station, you’ll probably be happy feasting on the Mexican French toast, made with brioche toast sticks with grated nutmeg, cinnamon, and Mexican chocolate. But make sure to also order Katalina’s trademarked Original Pancake Balls. The delicious doughy balls can be filled with Nutella, dulce de leche, pumpkin-apple butter, or strawberry jam.

36. OKLAHOMA // BRAMBLE BREAKFAST & BAR

Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma

This farm-to-table spot in downtown Tulsa takes typical breakfast fare and turns it on its head. Order Bramble's spiced apple steel cut oats (with brown sugar cream and smoked cashews) or the daily quiche, which is served with your choice of toast, duck fat fries, or a hash brown latke.

37. OREGON // THE VICTORIAN CAFE

Location: Bend, Oregon

Bend residents know that waiting in a long line for breakfast at The Victorian Cafe is totally worth it. Feast on creative dishes such as caramel apple French toast or Texas Hold'em Benedict, which features poached eggs alongside spicy barbecue pulled pork topped with ancho chili hollandaise sauce and fresh cilantro. And sip on a Bloody Mary or a mid- or man-mosa, their medium or large versions of mimosas.

38. PENNSYLVANIA // NANCY’S EAST END DINER

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

When owner Nancy Bielicki died in 2015 after 30 years of serving up home-cooked meals, new owners took over to continue the legacy of this neighborhood restaurant. Today, this Pittsburgh diner serves omelets, pancakes, French toast, and breakfast sandwiches. Order a bottomless cup of Tanzanian peaberry coffee or Nancy’s Breakfast Special (eggs, toast, and home fries or grits).

39. RHODE ISLAND // ELMWOOD DINER

Location: Providence, Rhode Island

Elmwood Diner makes homemade comfort food that will quickly wake up your taste buds. The fried chicken and waffle, soaked in buttermilk and served with two farm eggs, makes for a hearty breakfast, and the corned tofu hash offers vegetarian diners a meat-free option. For a healthier experience, you can also substitute gluten-free pancakes, waffles, or toast and opt for real maple syrup over regular pancake syrup.

40. SOUTH CAROLINA // THE DEVINE CINNAMON ROLL DELI

Location: Columbia, South Carolina

Cinnamon lovers rejoice! Run by a mother and son team, The Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli sells cinnamon rolls (with vanilla butter whipped cream cheese icing) and orange marmalade sticky buns all day. Not sure which cinnamon roll flavor to get? Try the black pepper bacon maple glaze, banana foster, or apple cobbler. For those lacking a sweet tooth, the deli also serves breakfast sandwiches.

41. SOUTH DAKOTA // JOSIAH'S COFFEEHOUSE & CAFÉ

Location: Sioux Falls, South Dakota

At Josiah’s, the coffee is strong, the service is friendly, and the food will keep your belly full through lunchtime. Order a cappuccino or iced caramel macchiato and munch on a bowl of steel cut oatmeal, which comes with blueberries, banana, flax, and chia seeds.

42. TENNESSEE // BRYANT’S BREAKFAST

Location: Memphis, Tennessee

Bryant’s begins serving breakfast bright and early at 5 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The grits breakfast bowl and cinnamon roll French toast are two standouts, but if you can’t decide on just one thing, Bryant’s has you covered. Order The Sampler, which includes three eggs, three biscuits, country gravy, grits, a potato patty, and a small serving of bacon, pork tenderloin, sausage, and country ham.

43. TEXAS // PARIS COFFEE SHOP

Location: Fort Worth, Texas

Sip on coffee or orange juice between bites of French toast with turkey sausage or sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast tacos. Whatever you order, your appetite will be sated by the Paris Coffee Shop’s home-cooked meals, which they’ve been happily serving for 85 years.

44. UTAH // THE BAGEL PROJECT

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

The Bagel Project elevates the humble bagel to another stratosphere. Using a traditional fermentation process, the shop hand-shapes each bagel and eschews sugar, honey, eggs, and preservatives. Try a bialy (a baked roll with caramelized onions and poppy seeds) with a cup of kombucha.

45. VERMONT // DOWN HOME KITCHEN

Location: Montpelier, Vermont

Vermont probably isn’t the first place you’d think to go for Southern soul food, but Down Home Kitchen just might change that. After opening in Montpelier last year, it’s already wowed Vermonters with its Biscuit Benedict (served all day!) and country-fried chicken. Sip on a latte with a shot of maple or mocha, and try the homemade granola, made with Vermont maple syrup and honey.

46. VIRGINIA // DE CLIEU COFFEE & SANDWICHES

Location: Fairfax, Virginia

This spot serves coffee, espresso, cappuccino, and lattes made with beans from local, small-batch roasters. Once you’ve taken a bite of the Belgian waffle, sprinkled with chocolate chips and banana, or the broccoli cheddar quiche (on a homemade deep-dish crust) you’ll know you’ve come to the right place.

47. WASHINGTON // SAVOR CREPERIE

Location: Tacoma, Washington

Owned by a French Canadian chef, Savor Creperie is a crepe-lover's paradise. The crepe scrambles come with fresh fruit and are filled with meats, veggies, and cheese. Get a small French press filled with Valhalla French Roast coffee, and if you’re gluten-free, ask for your crepe to be made with rice flour.

48. WEST VIRGINIA // BLUE WHITE GRILL

Location: Martinsburg, West Virginia

At this all-American diner, sit at the counter or hop in a booth to enjoy a classic breakfast. The blueberry hot cakes and vegetarian omelet are particularly tasty, and the framed photo of Elvis Presley on the wall will make you feel as though you’ve traveled back to a simpler time.

49. WISCONSIN // MARIGOLD KITCHEN

Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Marigold Kitchen uses fresh, local ingredients to create an extraordinary breakfast experience. Tired of regular old coffee? Order the hazelnut almond mocha or maple latte (made with pure Wisconsin maple syrup). Come hungry, too: You’ll want to devour the chili poached eggs. We also suggest the roasted sweet potato, kale, and basil walnut pesto hash.

50. WYOMING // THE BUNNERY BAKERY AND RESTAURANT

Location: Jackson, Wyoming

This bakery and restaurant has served baked goods like turnovers, scones, and flaky croissants to customers for four decades. Choose between a variety of quiches, omelets, and scrambles, and grab an O.S.M. roll, which contains oats, sunflower seeds, and millet, to take home.

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Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
May 21, 2017
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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva

Jacques Mattheij made a small, but awesome, mistake. He went on eBay one evening and bid on a bunch of bulk LEGO brick auctions, then went to sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that he was the high bidder on many, and was now the proud owner of two tons of LEGO bricks. (This is about 4400 pounds.) He wrote, "[L]esson 1: if you win almost all bids you are bidding too high."

Mattheij had noticed that bulk, unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. While many people do this work by hand, the problem is enormous—just the kind of challenge for a computer. Mattheij writes:

There are 38000+ shapes and there are 100+ possible shades of color (you can roughly tell how old someone is by asking them what lego colors they remember from their youth).

In the following months, Mattheij built a proof-of-concept sorting system using, of course, LEGO. He broke the problem down into a series of sub-problems (including "feeding LEGO reliably from a hopper is surprisingly hard," one of those facts of nature that will stymie even the best system design). After tinkering with the prototype at length, he expanded the system to a surprisingly complex system of conveyer belts (powered by a home treadmill), various pieces of cabinetry, and "copious quantities of crazy glue."

Here's a video showing the current system running at low speed:

The key part of the system was running the bricks past a camera paired with a computer running a neural net-based image classifier. That allows the computer (when sufficiently trained on brick images) to recognize bricks and thus categorize them by color, shape, or other parameters. Remember that as bricks pass by, they can be in any orientation, can be dirty, can even be stuck to other pieces. So having a flexible software system is key to recognizing—in a fraction of a second—what a given brick is, in order to sort it out. When a match is found, a jet of compressed air pops the piece off the conveyer belt and into a waiting bin.

After much experimentation, Mattheij rewrote the software (several times in fact) to accomplish a variety of basic tasks. At its core, the system takes images from a webcam and feeds them to a neural network to do the classification. Of course, the neural net needs to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. As long as Mattheij corrects the incorrect guesses, he ends up with a decent (and self-reinforcing) corpus of training data. As the machine continues running, it can rack up more training, allowing it to recognize a broad variety of pieces on the fly.

Here's another video, focusing on how the pieces move on conveyer belts (running at slow speed so puny humans can follow). You can also see the air jets in action:

In an email interview, Mattheij told Mental Floss that the system currently sorts LEGO bricks into more than 50 categories. It can also be run in a color-sorting mode to bin the parts across 12 color groups. (Thus at present you'd likely do a two-pass sort on the bricks: once for shape, then a separate pass for color.) He continues to refine the system, with a focus on making its recognition abilities faster. At some point down the line, he plans to make the software portion open source. You're on your own as far as building conveyer belts, bins, and so forth.

Check out Mattheij's writeup in two parts for more information. It starts with an overview of the story, followed up with a deep dive on the software. He's also tweeting about the project (among other things). And if you look around a bit, you'll find bulk LEGO brick auctions online—it's definitely a thing!

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8 Common Dog Behaviors, Decoded
May 25, 2017
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Dogs are a lot more complicated than we give them credit for. As a result, sometimes things get lost in translation. We’ve yet to invent a dog-to-English translator, but there are certain behaviors you can learn to read in order to better understand what your dog is trying to tell you. The more tuned-in you are to your dog’s emotions, the better you’ll be able to respond—whether that means giving her some space or welcoming a wet, slobbery kiss. 

1. What you’ll see: Your dog is standing with his legs and body relaxed and tail low. His ears are up, but not pointed forward. His mouth is slightly open, he’s panting lightly, and his tongue is loose. His eyes? Soft or maybe slightly squinty from getting his smile on.

What it means: “Hey there, friend!” Your pup is in a calm, relaxed state. He’s open to mingling, which means you can feel comfortable letting friends say hi.

2. What you’ll see: Your dog is standing with her body leaning forward. Her ears are erect and angled forward—or have at least perked up if they’re floppy—and her mouth is closed. Her tail might be sticking out horizontally or sticking straight up and wagging slightly.

What it means: “Hark! Who goes there?!” Something caught your pup’s attention and now she’s on high alert, trying to discern whether or not the person, animal, or situation is a threat. She’ll likely stay on guard until she feels safe or becomes distracted.

3. What you’ll see: Your dog is standing, leaning slightly forward. His body and legs are tense, and his hackles—those hairs along his back and neck—are raised. His tail is stiff and twitching, not swooping playfully. His mouth is open, teeth are exposed, and he may be snarling, snapping, or barking excessively.

What it means: “Don’t mess with me!” This dog is asserting his social dominance and letting others know that he might attack if they don’t defer accordingly. A dog in this stance could be either offensively aggressive or defensively aggressive. If you encounter a dog in this state, play it safe and back away slowly without making eye contact.

4. What you’ll see: As another dog approaches, your dog lies down on his back with his tail tucked in between his legs. His paws are tucked in too, his ears are flat, and he isn’t making direct eye contact with the other dog standing over him.

What it means: “I come in peace!” Your pooch is displaying signs of submission to a more dominant dog, conveying total surrender to avoid physical confrontation. Other, less obvious, signs of submission include ears that are flattened back against the head, an avoidance of eye contact, a tongue flick, and bared teeth. Yup—a dog might bare his teeth while still being submissive, but they’ll likely be clenched together, the lips opened horizontally rather than curled up to show the front canines. A submissive dog will also slink backward or inward rather than forward, which would indicate more aggressive behavior.

5. What you’ll see: Your dog is crouching with her back hunched, tail tucked, and the corner of her mouth pulled back with lips slightly curled. Her shoulders, or hackles, are raised and her ears are flattened. She’s avoiding eye contact.

What it means: “I’m scared, but will fight you if I have to.” This dog’s fight or flight instincts have been activated. It’s best to keep your distance from a dog in this emotional state because she could attack if she feels cornered.

6. What you’ll see: You’re staring at your dog, holding eye contact. Your dog looks away from you, tentatively looks back, then looks away again. After some time, he licks his chops and yawns.

What it means: “I don’t know what’s going on and it’s weirding me out.” Your dog doesn’t know what to make of the situation, but rather than nipping or barking, he’ll stick to behaviors he knows are OK, like yawning, licking his chops, or shaking as if he’s wet. You’ll want to intervene by removing whatever it is causing him discomfort—such as an overly grabby child—and giving him some space to relax.

7. What you’ll see: Your dog has her front paws bent and lowered onto the ground with her rear in the air. Her body is relaxed, loose, and wiggly, and her tail is up and wagging from side to side. She might also let out a high-pitched or impatient bark.

What it means: “What’s the hold up? Let’s play!” This classic stance, known to dog trainers and behaviorists as “the play bow,” is a sign she’s ready to let the good times roll. Get ready for a round of fetch or tug of war, or for a good long outing at the dog park.

8. What you’ll see: You’ve just gotten home from work and your dog rushes over. He can’t stop wiggling his backside, and he may even lower himself into a giant stretch, like he’s doing yoga.

What it means: “OhmygoshImsohappytoseeyou I love you so much you’re my best friend foreverandeverandever!!!!” This one’s easy: Your pup is overjoyed his BFF is back. That big stretch is something dogs don’t pull out for just anyone; they save that for the people they truly love. Show him you feel the same way with a good belly rub and a handful of his favorite treats.

The best way to say “I love you” in dog? A monthly subscription to BarkBox. Your favorite pup will get a package filled with treats, toys, and other good stuff (and in return, you’ll probably get lots of sloppy kisses). Visit BarkBox to learn more.

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