One of the most sociable pets, dogs live for their guardian’s attention. Developing a close connection with Fido requires establishing effective communication between you and him. Barking, of course, is one of the many ways canines use to communicate. However, their body language says a lot more about their emotional state.
Let’s Decode Doggo’s Wags, Barks, and Wiggles
“I’m just chillin’.” It’s very easy to tell when our dog is relaxed. His ears are pointed up, but there’s no tension in them. His tail is simply resting in the down position, but not tucked. And his mouth may be slightly open with a bit of his tongue showing.
“I want to play!” Get ready to play tug-of-war or fetch with Fido when we see him with his upper body crouched as if he’s ready to pounce. His ears are erect, tongue slightly lolling, his back end is up, and his tail is wagging.
“I’m a good dog!” It will definitely make you go “Awww!” when your dog expresses complete submission. He does this when he lies on his side or back, raises his legs, and exposes his belly and throat, waiting for a scratch and a rub. His ears, hair, and the corners of his mouth will be pulled downward and toward the back. Most of the time, he will not directly look at you.
“I’m scared!” Most likely because he’s guilty of something and/or he knows you’re not pleased with him. He will avoid making direct eye contact. His body will be low on the floor to make himself appear smaller. His tail will be down. His ears and the corners of his mouth will be drawn backward. Tentatively, he may raise a paw and lick us.
“Something’s up!” Whether our pet is a toy dog or a guard dog, he will display the same alert posture. Our pooch’s body will be slightly tense and leaning forward. His legs will show tension, too. He will raise and lower his head, and his mouth will be closed. His ears will be pointing up and forward, and his tail will be straight but not stiff. His hackles may or may not be raised.
“I’m warning you!” Of course, this will not be directed toward us but toward other animals or strangers when our pooch is feeling threatened or simply wants to assert his dominance. His body will either be lowered, in a ready-to-pounce posture, or standing alert. His tail will be up and, sometimes, even his hackles. His lips may curl, and he may deliver a low growl.
“You’re really asking for it!” Raised hackles, bared teeth, stiffened tail… these are all clear signs of aggression. His ears will also be pointing up and forward, his body very tense, and either lowered and ready to pounce, or standing erect. He will growl more threateningly, as well as bark or snap. You better have a tight grip on his leash!
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Our Pups Love Us
When you understand your pooch’s body language, you’ll be able to respond to him more effectively, as well as develop a deeper connection with him. Hey, if you want a less “demanding” pet, you can always get yourself a cat!
- “9 Things Your Dog Does That You MUST Pay Attention To,” Good Housekeeping
- “What is my dog trying to tell me?” Modern Dog Magazine
- “Reading Your Dog,” Animal Planet