How To Understand Your Dog’s Language

Everything here on earth has their own language. From teensiest ant to the largest of whales, every creature has their own form of communication. Even none living things have their own language. These include our gadgets, laptops, robots and every machine you can think of. With this in mind, we can say that man’s best friend too has their own form of communication whether talking to each other or to us.

For dogs, they talk to each other that are somewhat similar to the way we communicate with our own kind. They have their barks, howls and woofs similar to our words, sentences and the like. We have our own gestures, facial expressions and body actions that are somewhat similar to the body language of their species. But as humans, we are indifferent to the noises they make with their mouths for the obvious reason that we are a different species from theirs and yet we still have the ability to understand them. Why is that? Well, like what is previously stated, we have body languages, including dogs that we may be able to interpret. At first it may be hard, but understand what your dog is “saying” can save a lot of effort and time in the near future. Once you have understood what your dog “says” with his barks accommodated by different gestures like wagging their tails, lowering their ears and other body language you can be an effectively communicate with your best buddy. Remember that what is normal to us may be foreign and offensive to our dogs so it is better to use gestures that are familiar to them to avoid miscommunication. With this in mind, we must keep in mind these 5 common misunderstandings that can lead to a bad relationship with your pet.

  • Leaning over your dog. Sometimes we cannot help but tower over our pets and lean over just to talk or pet them but this gesture can intimidate a dog because in their language, it means that “I am superior, I am the boss.” This gesture can be frightening and threatening especially to puppies that already accepted your status as the boss. This may cause different mishaps such as submissive urination only to show they are not a threat to you. Another is that it can cause strange dogs to attack or fight back thinking that it may be some form of challenge.
  • Staring with hard eye contact. Similar to us humans when this happens, hard eye contact can also be intimidating for a dog.
  • Pats on the head. In this probable scene, size does matter. The width and length of our hands, especially when it is half the size of the puppy, can be a form of threat so it would be better to let the dog sniff your hands first to let them know you and make them feel comfortable with the idea of physical contact.
  • In the human world, hugs are a sign of affection but in a dog’s perspective, it is the gesture for play, fights, mating behaviour or even dominance.
  • Yes we are licked by our dogs, or sometimes we say that we are being “kissed” but in their point of view, these “kisses” are their form of saying that they are submissive to the one they are showing such gesture to. So whenever we kiss our dogs, we unknowingly say to them that we are submissive to them.

With all the misunderstandings aside, we may be able to communicate to our canines as effective as possible. To show assertiveness, remember these signals:

  • Use a calm, low-pitched voice and short words to show dominance and for easy understanding.
  • Pick a certain word for a specific task. When teaching your dog to stay, he won’t know that “stay” and “wait” are the same. Dogs thrive on repetition so its best to pick only one.
  • Stand tall to show superiority.
  • Refrain from using your hands for body control. It is better to use body blocks, shoves, leans and control space.
  • Here are the possible signals to show calmness:
  • For pups, use slow, soothing and high-pitched voice to show that you are not a threat to them.
  • It would be better to crouch or kneel rather than to loom or to lean over the top of the dog.
  • Approach in a curved manner, refrain from running directly towards the dog.
  • Lick your lips or yawn while looking away.

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