We talk and dogs listen. Unfortunately, that is just the way it is, as dogs have no language to express themselves. However, they try to convey you and get their message across using their body language. With proper understanding the dog body language, owners are better placed to know what their pets want to communicate, and this plays an important role in cementing a great relationship between the two.
While dogs can learn, obey, and understand “word” commands, such as “sit” and “stay,” their only reply is to happily obey or not so happily refuse. Whether they are happy or not, they do not tell you using words or sounds. An observation of the dog body language highlights how your pet reacts to your commands. Dogs communicate their messages through a series of body movements and postures. The more you understand what the different signs and body cues, the better you are placed to communicate with your dog.
A good relationship with your dog is not a one-way street. Your dog needs an owner must know his side of the story and is able to understand the feelings of his pet. A perfect owner must take in a keen interest in what his dog is trying to communicate. When you have accomplished this, you can look forward to a trusted and harmonious relationship with your pet.
Spend some time watching the dog body language and translate the message behind your pet’s various postures. To better understand your dog, you must observe these five key body postures of your dog.
Understanding Dog Body Language: Watch Lips and Mouth
Let your dog’s lips and mouth “speak.” When a dog is relaxed, they part their lips. You may consider it as a way of smiling by your dog. A dog when in deep thought, he prefers to keep his mouth close.
Observe your dog’s mouth when he spots a squirrel. Is it open or closed? Check how his mouth and lips look when your pet greets you or when somebody knocks on your door.
Understanding Dog Body Language: A Dog’s Tail is His Emotional Barometer
A dog’s tail is his “great flag of emotion.” Whether your dog’s tail is straight, curved, smooth, fluffy, or docked, it tells a large part of the story. The tail can signal joy, fear, indifference, and more.
We all know that a happy dog wags his tail. A dog that feels threatened drops his tail.
Small, twitching wags by your pet means he is nervous and concerned.
When your dog feels distrustful, his tail rises.
A trembling tail tip means momentary concentration. Beware when the movement stops. It may be an indication of the calm before the storm. Try to redirect or distract your dog’s attention, as your dog is preparing himself for a defensive reaction.
Understanding Dog Body Language: Ears Indicate Your Pet’s Mood
You can read your dog’s mood by observing his ears. Dogs have a heightened sense of hearing that help them locate many things, including approaching people, playmates, food, and even sounds you are yet to hear. Watching the ears can tell you a lot about what is going on in your dog’s brain.
When your dog is in play mode, his ears point at the object of his or her attention – for example, your presence or toys you are playing with.
When you are at a dog park or in a busy place with many interesting sounds, watch how your dog’s ears flick around – it is quite a battle for him to stay focused, as there are so many stimuli around.
Your dog’s ears are as almost as expressive as their tail. When a dog is afraid, both the ears and tail cower down. A stressed dog pitches forward his tail and ears in unison.
Understanding Dog Body Language: The Eyes
Find out what caught your dog’s interest by looking at his eyes. While eyes are a man’s strongest asset, a dog is at the receiving end as far as his sight is concerned. A dog does not actually see in black and white, but he is painfully nearsighted.
Dogs use their eyes to judge body cues, alert to motion, and focus on objects of interest nearby. A dog usually does not stare blankly at anything. However, he is likely to a lot of visual distractions when there is a dog or a cat somewhere in the distance, a ball that is out of reach, or squirrels climbing up on a tree branch.
If you follow the focus of your dog’s eyes, you may know exactly what has caught your dog’s attention.
Understanding Dog Body Language: The Body Posture
Your dog’s posture is the key to understanding his body language. A closer observation reveals that a dog’s posture is very similar to that of a man – stands up when happy or excited, gets tensed up when agitated, puffs out on the defense, and shrinks down if overwhelmed.
Dogs are a lot like people. They stay calm after having a good amount of exercise or when in a consoling environment, where they feel safer.
To practice understanding your canine body language skills, take your dog outside and spend some time observing his reactions to various stimuli. Watch his mouth, ears, eyes, tail, and posture to judge your dog’s mood.