Understanding Dog Language

Understanding dog language may not seem too important when you have a loving, friendly pet dog. However, as a human being you know that clear communication is extremely important in developing strong, meaningful relationships; that communication is just as necessary with your pet dog.

Imagine meeting someone that you are going to live with for 8 years, 10 years, or possibly longer. Both of you speak different languages. Since you will be living together for a long time, you realize how important it will be to learn each others language. You need to do the same with your pet dog.

From your dog’s point of view, he’s always been speaking his language by barking and woofing, or whatever unique noises he makes, and he may have thought you understood, especially if every time he “communicated”, you handed him yummy, delicious doggy treats. You never seemed to understand what he was communicating but assumed it was normal because, after all, who speaks dog language except dogs? Imagine his excitement if you really did understand what he was trying to tell you.

Canine body language has been studied for many years by researchers and scientists. They have been able to identify a very reliable and consistent language that dogs use to help them communicate their intentions to other dogs. Research has shown that a dog’s main goal in using its language is to lessen and settle any conflicts with other dogs. Not to develop romantic relationships or quick liaisons with other dogs. Or to gossip as so many humans enjoy doing.

Dogs use this same language with us, but we haven’t learned enough to understand what they are trying to tell us. Growls and barks are often easy for us to understand when we consider the circumstances of the moment. But wouldn’t it be great to really learn how to understand your dog and how to communicate back in such a way that he’d understand you too!

This is not to suggest that you growl or bark at your dog. Simply that if you take the time to understand your dog’s BODY LANGUAGE, you will be better able to observe and “listen” to your dog. You’ll become a better friend to your best friend. This will become especially important if your dog should lose its hearing as he grows older. This happens with certain breeds and is quite common as a dog ages.

When you interact with your dog, watch for his yawn, licking of his lips, a rapid shaking of his body as if he were just coming out of the pool, a quick flick of an ear, and the turning of his head. These are just some of the many cues dogs will use to communicate with us each time we interact with them, and when they interact with one another. They use their “language” for all intents and purposes to tell us and other dogs, “Hey, everything’s cool. I mean no harm.. Calm down a bit.”

As humans, we are very forward and a bit domineering when paying attention to our dogs. The way we use our bodies to speak is very different than the way dogs use their bodies.

Dogs meet each other in an arc rather than head on. A dog considers it rude to walk straight toward them and make direct eye contact. Dogs do everything they can to avoid a face-to-face posture and direct eye contact that we as humans consider normal and appropriate.

Dogs will turn their head away, sometimes even sniff the ground upon approaching another dog, then walk up side-by-side with one another and sniff each other’s butts! That would really be unheard of for humans to do! But this is standard procedure for dogs.

It’s easy to see why our intentions are not always clear to our dogs. What we do as humans, often doesn’t make sense to your pet dog.

If you take the time to learn the basics of canine body language it will help you become a good dog communicator. You will have the opportunity to improve the lives of not only your dog, but each and every dog you meet. If you open yourself to learning the language dogs use to communicate with each other, you can greatly improve your understanding of your companion and help reduce the stress and anxiety in his life.

By learning how to understand dog language you’ll be able to listen to your beloved pet and build a stronger and deeper bond between you. And don’t forget the hugs, the tummy rubs, and the behind the ear scratches. Your dog will love you for those tender moments when no other form of communication is necessary.

You’ve brought your pet into your life and you love him or her. Open your heart, your eyes and ears and really listen; hear your dog speak his own language. You’ll not only love the new found communication, but your friends and neighbors may be amazed at your understanding of what your dog, and possibly theirs, is trying to tell you. That is if your neighbors don’t mistake you for being psychic or slightly touched in the head! But then, who do you spend the most time with – your pet or your neighbors?