Dog language and learning to understand what your dog is trying to tell you.
You may not be aware of it, but dogs have a language all of their own. Learn to understand this “dog language” and you will greatly improve the relationship you have with your dog. Not only that, but you’ll seriously turbo-charge your dog training results by communicating with your dog on his level. Unfortunately, no–one has yet written a Dog / Human dictionary, but if you follow the clues below, you’ll soon have a good understanding of what your dog is trying to tell you.
Here are some of the most important “dog language” cues you’ll get from your dog.
Standing Tense and Still – When a dog stops moving and stands very still and rigid, it often means he wants to be left alone. It could also be that be is protecting a possession. Give your dog a treat or a toy when there are other dogs around and you’ll see what I mean.
Exposing the Teeth – This is the first warning a dog will give if it wants to be left alone. If the dog is not known to you, it is best to leave well enough alone.
Growling – If showing the teeth doesn’t work a dog will often escalate to growling. If this doesn’t get the necessary response the dog may well attack.
Many people scold or punish the dog for growling or showing its teeth, but this is dangerous. If the dog is prevented from giving a warning, chances are he may escalate straight to an attack.
Rising the Hackles – When a dog raises the hair on his back, he is trying to look bigger than he is, in order to scare off a threat. A dog that does this is usually afraid and may well attack out of fear.
Tail between the Legs – This is normally interpreted as a sign of fear, but it may mean that the dog is anxious or uncertain. This may result have many causes, the owner leaving the house for example, or the dog being introduced to a stranger.
Head Down – Depending on the dog’s demeanor, it can be a submissive sign or an invitation to play.
Raised Paw – A raised paw is a playful gesture, equivalent to saying, “let’s be friends”.
Wagging Tail – The tail is a very powerful canine communication tool. A wagging tail is usually interpreted as a friendly gesture but this only applies if the tail is wagging loosely.
If the tail is rigid and flicking slightly from side to side it means the dog is bothered by your presence. If the tail is held between the legs and wagging slightly it can mean insecurity or fear.
Dogs rely greatly on body language and gestures for communication. Your dog may learn to obey vocal commands, but in the canine world, actions really do speak louder than words. Learning dog language will open up a whole new channel of communication with your dog.