Understanding Dog Language

Understanding Dog Language

People who have had a dog for a long time usually already intuitively know what he wants to say. However, it is sometimes difficult for beginners to understand what the dog means. It is indeed very complex. Unfortunately, misunderstandings can also have serious consequences, for example, if the dog sees no other way out than to bite suddenly. This article will help you better understand dog language.

why is it so important? to Understanding dog language:

Misunderstandings between humans and dogs can become very dangerous. That is why it is so important that you really understand the dog language. Before a dog bites, it normally shows in its own way that it doesn’t want something. However, those alarms can be misinterpreted or missed.

Another example, there’s a difference between whether your dog doesn’t listen to you because he doesn’t feel like it or because he’s afraid of the situation. He may not want to sit down when crossing the road because he is afraid of the cars passing by. Knowing how your dog really feels can save him a lot of stress.

Most importantly, mutual understanding creates trust and strengthens the friendship between you and your four-legged friend.

Understanding Dog Language

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How do dogs communicate?

Dogs communicate with people and their peers in multiple ways. Such expressions as barking, pleading, whining, howling, or growling are among the sounds they make.

However, the animals don’t just use their voice, they use their whole body to make things clear. That body language includes sign language and facial expressions. An example of sign language is wagging and facial expressions include showing the teeth.

Also Read: 10 Signs That Prove Your Dog Loves You


A message with a smell

Smell plays an important role in the dog world. A dog’s nose has up to 300 million olfactory cells (5 million in humans). It is therefore not surprising that dogs are used to track down missing persons.

By marking urine or feces, dogs leave an important message for their peers. That is also part of the dog language. A urine stain or feces in the gutter? Your dog has to go there for a while so as not to miss a message. It is quite normal for dogs to smell or even lick foreign feces while out for a walk.

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Understanding dog language comes down to context

Unfortunately, dog language is rarely unambiguously understandable. In order to understand the meaning of an utterance, you always have to take the context into account. This refers to the situation your dog is in at that moment. If you don’t take this into account, there can easily be a misunderstanding.

For example, dogs lick their noses to reassure the other. But if he’s had a snack recently, he might just be cleaning his nose.

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The barking as part of the dog language

Dogs bark for a variety of reasons. For example, they bark because they are hungry or thirsty, because they want to be walked or because they like to play with their boss. Often the desire for attention is behind it.

When you bark, you can already notice that dog language is often ambiguous. Dogs bark when they want to warn their owner about a burglar. But they also bark when they feel threatened.

If the verbal warning doesn’t work, then the teeth may be used afterward. The saying that barking dogs don’t bite doesn’t always hold true.

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The desire for attention or a warning?

How can you tell if your dog just wants attention or is warning you?

In general, if the dog is barking high, it is probably meant in a friendly way. Low barking means a dog is angry or feels threatened.

Chihuahuas and other small dogs bark higher, while large dogs have a lower voice, such as Saint Bernard. You should also take this into account when estimating the message.

Some dogs bark at the slightest hint and get on their owner’s nerves. But dogs that bark a lot often just don’t get enough of a challenge.

Not only wolves but also domestic dogs howl, as this Alaskan Malamute shows.
Understanding Dog Language: Crying Promotes Togetherness
When wolves howl, they show the solidarity of the pack. The sound promotes social cohesion. The howling also serves to let other animals know that this is their place or to warn them of danger.

Domestic dogs also cry, some more, some less. Basset Hounds, Beagles, and Huskies are among the most “singy” breeds.

Does your four-legged friend join in when the church bells ring or a siren goes off? Experts suspect that dogs interpret this sound as howling by other dogs because it has the same frequency.

In addition, pain, stress, or loneliness can be caused that cause your dog to howl.

Tip: cry along

Even if it feels strange: experts advise joining in the howling every now and then. This is how you confirm the bond with your dog. You show that you are part of the pack.

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When your dog shows his teeth

When a dog lifts its upper lip and only shows the front teeth, you have to be very careful! There is a serious threat if the body is also stiff and he stares at the other with a fixed look.

If a dog shows ‘all his weapons’ by showing all the teeth completely, then that is probably a ‘defensive threat’. While showing the teeth, he keeps averting his gaze. The body is mainly directed backward and downwards and the tail hangs down. The dog then has fear but is usually ready to defend itself.

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Grinning and smiling in dogs

Again, the exception proves the rule: the so-called ‘submissive grinning’ is showing a submissive shape of the teeth. This is accompanied by a depressed body position, in which the tail goes back and forth or is retracted.

From the ‘submissive grinning,’ the ‘social smiles’ arose, which dogs only do towards people. The mouth is then slightly open, the lips are drawn up a little and the body is usually straight and relaxed with a wagging tail.

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Understanding dog language through videos

Dogs often move very quickly. When they play on a dog field with other dogs of their own kind, the small nuances in body language are difficult to recognize. Is it a friendly game or does the atmosphere change?

If you want to understand your dog better, film him the next time you walk him. Then play back the recording in slow motion. That can be a real eye-opener.

You can also find many videos about dog body language on YouTube.

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