Dog Body Language

Posted by Sarah Clark on

Dog Body Language

Hey Everyone,

I always dream about my dog and wish they could talk to me! However we know it’s not possible for it to happen, so we have to go by body language and other signs. It can be frustrating especially at the start to really understand what they want and need. They are clearly trying to communicate, but we are just not able to understand each other straight away.

As they cannot speak they will use body language and the limited sounds they can make through barking. We often forget how important body language is in communication as it is taken for granted as we can speak. However just as dogs make effort to learn a few words and understand what they mean through training (usually commands like sit, walk etc), we should also make the effort to understand them. After all what is the point of a best friend if we never communicate effectively?

There are some common body language behaviours we can look out for to understand dogs better. A dog is always honest with his body language and you can tell many things by just looking at them.

Look at your dog and observe their behaviour in various situations. Look at different parts of their body, their ears, eyes, paws, tails and everything else. See how it changes when in a different situation. You will find them extremely relaxed in their bodies and tails wagging when they are enjoying themselves or perhaps having fun with you.

While on the other hand they can display displacement behaviour, which is a normal action but not in the correct context and situation. For example you are about to give them their favourite treat and they yawn when they are usually very excited. This is a way of them letting you know they are nervous or uncomfortable. They will do an irregular action to what they want as a way to shift focus away from doing the action and highlight the fact to you.

Other behaviour such as getting up and leaving, turning their heads or hiding behind you indicate avoidance. It is their way of showing they want to leave a place or situation. Similarly there will be behaviours you will come to identify with happiness and aggression.

Always keep an eye on your dog’s body language and never assume they do anything without reason and purpose. They are incredibly smart and trying to communicate with you.

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