The Secret Language of Dogs
How do dogs communicate with their humans through body language?
I have always wished that my dog Caramel would talk to me, especially when he spends long minutes just staring straight into my soul! But even though dogs cannot talk to us, they actually manage to communicate with us in surprisingly different ways. By learning about how dogs communicate, we will be able to decipher what a dog is trying to tell us.
Unlike humans, who primarily use verbal communication, dogs mainly communicate in a non-verbal way, that is, through the use of body language, and then secondarily through vocalisations.
It is crucial to observe the entire dog when trying to see what they are trying to say, as well as take into account the situation / context in which they are. Below are a few ways in which a dog uses body language to communicate:
Dog express their emotions through their eyes. Their eyes brighten up when they look at a creature or a human being that they consider friendly. But when they are afraid, their pupils dilate and the white in their eyes shows even more clearly.
Also, when you receive constant eye contact from your dog, it is their way of showing trust and affection towards you, as if they are saying the three magic words “I love you”. Whereas when your pup avoids eye contact, it is a sign that they are feeling anxious, uncomfortable, or even scared after having done something naughty.
The lips, teeth and tongue are also a pup’s way of expressing emotions. If your dog is joyful or wants to play, they pull their lips back and show their teeth and tongue in what we might interpret as a smile. This gesture only happens in human/dog communication. Indeed, a dog does not “smile” with other dogs.
Sneezing and Yawning:
Dogs also have a tendency to sneeze or yawn repeatedly when they are around new pets or people. That is because they are feeling uncomfortable or stressed. Did you know that people tend to behave in the same way too?
Yawning might also mean that your pup is feeling content and safe around you. This means that is it important to take into account the environment in order to correctly interpret your dog’s behaviour.
If a dog raises his / her ears, he / she is relaxed or listening. However, if the ears are drawn back, it is a signal of submission.
The way that a dog wags its tail communicates different emotions. For instance, if your dog is wagging his / her tail slowly, it means that he / she is feeling cautious. A stiff tail held high means that your pup is on alert. A low tail means that your dog is feeling happy. And, as you might already know, a tucked tail signifies that he / she is scared. Your dog also wags his / her tail vigorously when he / she are so happy and excited to see you!
Showing their belly:
Your dog might have a tendency to roll over and expose his / her belly to you. It is his / her way of trying to please you, as well as an effective way for demanding belly rubs! It is also a sign of submissiveness.
Raising a paw:
When your dog is not getting the attention demanded, he / she raises the paw and touch you, as if he / she is trying to say “hey, look at me and give me that treat or cuddle that I want and deserve!”. I personally think that this is one of the cutest dog gestures ever, and it makes me think that dogs tend to communicate just like us humans.
Although these signals are common among different dog breeds, it is important to remember that each and every dog is unique in its own way. To better interpret your dog’s behaviour, it is important to observe their habits, movements, and gestures, so as to better understand the different ways in which your dog is communicating with you. It will reinforce your relationship with your pup and make you both very happy and content.
Does your dog communicate with you in other ways? Let us know in the comments below!
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