Dogs might not able to speak but they can communicate with their expressions and gestures. They can communicate feelings like happiness, nervousness, sadness, fear, anger etc. with their gestures. This is known as dog body language. It is a non-verbal form of communication from which you can understand what your dog is exactly feeling. Once you learn how to read a dog’s body language, you will be able to understand their feelings better.
Here are some tips to understand a dog’s body language:
1. Tail wagging
- When their tail is wagging at a minimal speed: It means the puppy is relaxed but cautious. It expects and anticipate that something exciting is about to happen.
- When their tail is hanging a little low and wagging slowly: It means that the puppy is letting you know that it does not understand your command and needs you to explain your command again.
- When their tail tremors slightly and held vertically erect: It means that the puppy is issuing a quiet challenge to your power, they need to make sure that you’re still in charge.
- When their tail is low but influencing: It means that the puppy is uncertain or simply feeling down. Play with the canine and entertain them for a little while.
- When their tail is high and wagging vertically: It means that the puppy considers itself as the leader of the pack. It is a signal of a very confident canine.
- When they roll over: It means the canine is letting you know that they accept your dominance.
- When they have one paw raised: It implies that something is making them uncertain of themselves or of what will happen next. The paw will return to the floor, when they are clear about what is going on.
- When the puppy has it’s head or paw on the human knees: This is a sign that they want your attention, do not interpret this as a challenge to your authority.
- When their eyes are wide open but cautious: This implies that they are waiting to get your attention and consideration. They are testing you, anticipating that you will react firmly.
- When their eyes are blinking at an object: This activity implies that they are ready to play with that object and need you to participate.
- When their eyes are narrow: This means they are in an aggressive mood. You can expect high pitch growl along with the eye contact.
- When your puppy is staring into space: It implies that they think they are in control and they don’t feel guilty of anything.
See Also: Adorable Pet Dogs Making Guilty Faces
- When their ears are standing up straight or inclined forward: This means they are interested and paying attention to any new development in their environment. Ensure that the tone of your voice and motions express the same mood.
- When their ears are pulled back flat against the head: The puppy is trying to communicate the feeling of fear. They are reflexively trying to get their ears out of the way of whatever they perceive to be threatening.
- When their ears are pulled back slightly, yet not sufficiently tight enough that they are against the head: This is a gentle sign of discontent and it will typically go away without your intervention.
- When their lips are twisted, with bared teeth and wrinkled gag: It usually means that they are extremely distraught and need your help.
- When they yawn: Yawning is a canine’s reflex reaction to stress and tiredness.
- When their mouth is open with their teeth bared but no growling: It means that they are securing their turf (for example: when they’re eating and someone tries to disturb them).
So, now you know that a tail wagging dog does not certainly mean a happy dog, it can mean multiple things.
You can learn a lot about a dog’s body language while training them. Dog training is important for both dog and yourself. You can consult dog training professionals to help you learn and understand dog body language.
Feature Illustration Credit: Lili Chin
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