Much like humans, dogs have their own language too. They always show their intentions and emotions; but, some people have difficulty interpreting them. Dogs connect in the same way that people communicate through facial expressions and body signals.
There are plenty of reasons why it is vital to know your dog’s body language.
- It is a big part of how the dog communicates with you using posture, expressions and body language.
- Being a responsible owner means knowing how to recognize their needs and comfort level.
- Understanding their emotions allows you to have an intelligent guess on how they may behave in a given situation.
- You develop mutual trust and respect when you understand your pet.
Learn to recognize your dog’s body language by observing him. Take note that signals aren’t to be understood individually, but as a whole. Some expressions can mean different things so you have to look at primary body parts too. Here is a general guide on what your dog’s movements mean:
When the dog’s eyes are almost squinting, it is often a good sign that they are happy. The almond shape of their eyes and the soft gaze indicates enjoyment or contentment.
On the other hand, dilated pupils express feeling stressed or frightened in the situation. When the eyes look cold and are staring hard, the dog may be feeling a bit threatened. If his gaze is too intense on a subject, the dog may be feeling tense or recognizing a threat.
The dog’s eye contact with you is very telling of how they feel about you. If a dog attempts to look away and avoid eye contact, he may be feeling stressed. He is not ignoring you; rather, he is expressing discomfort.
· Facial Expressions
The mouth and the ears allow dogs to show their enjoyment or uneasiness. You can usually know when dogs are feeling stressed when they are yawning and panting rapidly when it is out of context. A tense or tight mouth and constant lip licking expresses anxiety or discomfort.
A relaxed dog’s mouth is open and lightly panting without a sign of facial or mouth tension. This is how dogs look when when they’re smiling. They show their full front teeth, but the corners of the lips show good intentions.
The ears are also part of their body language. A relaxed dog’s ears are out to the sides and slightly back. If the ears are erect and forward there may be something they saw or heard that caught their attention.
· Body Posture and Movement
You can tell when a dog wants to play because he may bring a toy to you. He wags his tail, bows a little with a jump in the air, and has exaggerated movements. He may wiggle his body and frantically move to show his excitement for playtime.
When dogs have slow movement, lie down, or begin to scratch, they’ve had enough playtime. A dog who is stiff and constantly turning away isn’t interested in playing.
If a dog is agitated when faced with another dog, you may recognize this in the way the body tenses while slightly leaning forward. This is often paired with a hard gaze and a wrinkled muzzle.
Fear is another emotion altogether. The dog will look away, tremble, cower, curl or crouch, and hide the tail. With an even more intense feeling of fear, he may either completely freeze or urinate randomly. Dogs may shed more when frightened.
Body language is more than just the posture, but it also the way their body reacts. Notice when the dog is sweating through his paws because this can mean that he is upset.
For new dog owners, the first thing they usually look at is the tail. Sometimes wagging tails means the dog is friendly. But, not always! There are different ways that a dog can communicate through their tail.
A relaxed dog will have the tail in the normal position casually extending out. When a dog wags side to side or in a circular motion, he is often excited and playful. However, when the wag is a bit faster and almost twitching, this can indicate negative alertness.
The position of the tail matters as well. Watch out when the dog is hiding its tail and tucking it between the legs. It usually means that something is frightening him. When the tail is pointing down, he may feel stressed and frightened.
The normal or neutral position of the dog’s tail depends on his breed. Figure out what is specifically normal for your pet.
Reach Out to Positive Paws Pet Training for Questions on Your Dog’s Body Language
If you have a new furry addition to the family, learn how to understand his body language. Your dog may have a little problem with basic behavior commands. Perhaps you want to improve their skills and teach a few tricks.
For enjoyable and practical dog solutions, contact Positive Paws Pet Training. We believe in positive reinforcement and ensuring that the dog feels comfortable at all times. We will assist you with your objectives and customize techniques that will fit your dog’s personality. Schedule your dog training now!