Dogs communicate in their own unique ways. Unlike humans, they don’t use words to express their feelings, but instead they communicate through different verbal cues, body language and facial expressions. As a result, there are times that people, even their owners, do not understand them.
Understanding the feelings of dogs is an important task. When you begin understand their feelings, there is less chance for misunderstandings and misinterpretations and you can then respond more appropriately. Learning the dog’s language can be easy and will promote a special bond between you and your dog.
The Basics of Dog Language
Happy: When you see that your dog has his ears forward, tails wagging and mouth opened slightly, but relaxed, with the teeth not visible – this indicates that he is happy. You can also identify a happy dog as they may act playful and may circle, spin and bounce around you. Some dogs will exhibit a “play bow” which is a doggie invitation to play.
Fearful: When dogs exhibit fear, they are most likely to avoid eye contact and will usually attempt to move away. Notice that their tail will be pinned between the legs. They may tremble and growl if you try to approach them. They may also cower to make themselves smaller in your eyes.
Shy: A shy dog usually will put its head down and turn away from you. When approached, dogs may whimper at times. Just like when they become fearful, they will avoid any possible eye contact, and they may also avoid physical contact as well.
Aggressive: You can easily observe this behavior since aggressive dogs tend to appear stiff with its tail raised. Also, when you approach them, they may growl at you and show their teeth. When dogs are being aggressive, you should be careful since they may bite you. Be careful to back slowly away, avoiding running or making eye contact.
Barks: When dogs bark, they may have a lot of meanings. Primarily, dogs bark because they want to get your attention. If you hear a high pitched bark, it signifies happiness and excitement. On the other hand, a low pitched bark signifies aggression and dominance. Prolonged barking may indicate your dog is lonely and wants company, whereas yelps may indicate pain.
One step of gaining a greater understanding your dog is to learn the basics of their language. When you have successfully learned to understand their language, the chances of misunderstandings and misinterpretations will be minimized.