Understanding Your Dog’s Body Language… Interpreting your dog’s body language may seem like a strange thing to consider. However, it’s imperative for you to keep in mind that your dog tells you things with more than exclusively his bark! Regardless of training regimen, having a good feel for what your dog is saying when he does specific actions will help you.
The eyes are the glass to the soul, and that’s no exception with dogs. They will tell you everything your dog is telling, and vice versa! If you keep a look out for some facial cues and expressions, you can know an astonishing amount about how your dog is feeling, and communicate what you’re thinking as well.
In certain circumstances, however, direct eye contact with a dog can be misunderstood by the animal as aggressive or hostile behavior. Your dog may react with antagonistic behavior, which can evolve into other behavioral issues. A dog’s body language is something that you need to understand as well as possible to figure out how to communicate effectively with your body language.
Dogs are characteristically packed animals, and you need to be aware of the fact that the signals they send with their body language are what they use for other dogs to communicate. Dogs will try to communicate with their masters using this behavior. It’s a human deficiency when we don’t recognize this, and the signals are neglected. Yawning, head turns, freezing, sniffing, and licking, in addition to other signals, can all be efforts to communicate.
Here are some common ways dogs use their bodies to communicate:
1. Tail wagging and backside in the air. This is a good sign. This means your dog wants to play and have fun. He is projecting friendliness and excitement.
2. Rolling over. This is a sign of submission. He might do with both people and other dogs. Sometimes, dogs will do this if another dog is threatening them as if to say, “I’m not threat to you.”
3. Wagging tail. Notice how he is wagging his tail as this could mean several things. First, it may mean that he is happy, excited and ready to play. Usually, as in the first example, his backside is in the air. If he is just wagging his tail loosely, he is probably just feeling friendly and happy. It his tail is up high and wagging very rapidly, this could mean aggression. If his tail is relaxed and still, he probably feels contented.
4. Tail between his back legs. This tells you that he is scared of something or someone. You shouldn’t baby him when he does this because that could enhance his fear and reinforce the fearful behavior. Talk normally to him and try to work out what is affecting him.
5. Raised hackles. This means that your dog is either scared or ready to attack. “Attack” doesn’t always mean that he is going to attack a person or another dog. It could signal that he might be stalking a squirrel, a bird, or even a paper bag. Sometimes if a dog doesn’t recognize something he sees, he may behave this way.
6. Sniffing. Your dog’s smell sense is his strongest sense. Dogs sniff people and other animals to identify them. Some scientists believe their sense of smell is 1000 times that of a human. Although some people are uncomfortable when their dogs sniff someone, it is the dog’s way of greeting people, much like humans say hello and shake hands.
7. Crouching. This is an instinctual predatory position. If your dog’s body is tense, and he lowers himself into a crouching position, this usually indicated that he is ready to charge. He may also do this when he sees another dog or person – this doesn’t always mean that he is going to attack. Conversely, he may be excited and waiting for them to get close so he can greet them with excitement. He may also do this in stalking a squirrel or even his favorite toy.