If you want to learn to read bodylanguage, observing animals is a good starting point. Humans and animals are much alike when it comes to subjects like territorial behaviour and behaviour in groups. Many of the insights into nonverbal communication have come from experiments and studying of animals. A type of animal behaviour that has long been termed instinctive is the fighting of dogs. When two male dogs meet they may react in a number of ways, but the most common is the snarling, snapping simulation of a fight to the death.
A person new to this behaviour will be alarmed and tries to seperate the dogs. The knowing dog owner simply watches, realizing how much of the fight is symbolic. This doesnt mean the fight isnt real, on the contrary, the dogs are competing for mastery. One will win, because he is more aggressive, perhaps stronger and with harder drives than the other. The fight is over at the point when both dogs realize that one is the victor, though no skin has been broken. Then a curious thing happens: the vanquished dog lies down, rolls over and exposes his throat to the victor.