What Really is Dog Language?
Every now and then you hear someone say "dog language". But, what exactly are they talking about? Are dogs
actually talking to each other in some hidden, silent language we cannot hear? Or is it something much more
complex than that?
The truth is that dogs don't think in terms of what we consider "language". That's a human construct. However,
communication exists for every animal species, and dogs are no different.
Using a series of body language cues and sounds, dogs can tell each other what they feel and want quite
As human beings, it is extremely useful to know what your dog is trying to say to you with their body language.
It can also help to reduce the potential for aggression or violence outside your home if you can recognize when your dog is upset or angry
The Various Signs of Dog Language
Because there is no syntax or set rule book for dogs and how they talk to us, here are some of the most
important physical cues you'll receive from your dog.
* Stillness - When a dog stops moving and stands very still, it often means they want to be left alone and that
they are fearful of losing something. Give your dog a bone and see if they do this. It can be dangerous to try and
interact with them in this state (if you're not the clear leader of the pack).
* Growling and Teeth - There are multiple stages in showing a threat. It starts with the teeth being bared. Many
people tell their dogs to stop doing this, but it's best to leave this behaviour alone instead of trying to correct
it with dog behavior training.
Despite how scary it is, teeth baring is a clear warning sign to people and animals that a dog is
upset and wants to be left alone. Growling comes next, followed by attacking. If you train your dog not to bare its
teeth or growl, they may escalate straight to attacking.
* Arched Backs - When a dog arches his back, they are trying to look bigger to scare off a threat. It generally
means they are scared and a scared dog is a dangerous dog. If you see this in another dog, it's best to leave them
* Tail between their Legs - A dog's tail between its legs means it is scared or anxious. This can be the result
of many sources, including simply their owner leaving the house.
* Lowered Head - A lowered head is an invitation to play, a primal action that says "I'm happy!"
* Raised Paw -A raised paw means that the dog wants to be your friend. It's why this is so easy to train a dog
* Tail Wagging - A tail is a very powerful communication tool that will change rapidly depending on what they want
you to know. A loose, wagging tail is happiness, but other wagging motions are not necessarily good.
A flickering tail held mostly still is meant to push away people from bothering him. A tail that is barely wagging
can mean insecurity or anxiety, and a dog with a tail between its legs wagging is extremely frightened.
Dogs are extremely expressive. For many people, the biggest problem in training is that we don't pay attention
to what they're trying to tell us. Learning how to read dog body
language will definitely enable you understand your dog better. They, on the other hand, read every gesture we
make. Whether you try to hide it or not, a dog will know when you're upset or happy or angry based almost entirely
on body language.
Your dog may be able to associate actions to sounds and syllables you say, but in the end, it is the body language
and gestures you make that will determine how the two of you communicate.
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