Dog Care

Dog Communication: Are You Listening? (Part 2)

EZ Homemade Dog Food
When you verbally ask someone a question you expect an answer, right? A well-mannered, thought-out response is always appreciated and humans talk with their mouths and voice boxes to respond. This is how we interact, mostly with words to let others know how we feel.

Dogs, on the other hand, communicate in a very different way. Yes they bark and use their vocal cords to cry about something, but the number one way to read how a dog is feeling or what he wants you to know is by looking at his tail.

As your dog wags his tail in happiness, he may also exercise the rest of his body to tell you that you are a welcome sight. He may greet you by jumping, dancing around, and attempting to lick your face.

As one dog trainer, Chris, tells of his German short-haired pointer, named Tiger, your dog can let you know when he is approaching a place which associates with comfort and happiness.

When Chris, who spent many hours out of the house to play golf and hunt, would come home from his long day and driving hours to get home, his wife would comment on how Tiger’s ears would perk up and the dog would show ripples of excitement up and down his back in awaiting Chris’s return.

What is amazing is that these signs of excitement to greet his owner at the door, Tiger would start to become anxious and happy when Chris was still more than an hour away driving home.

In addition to their expression of elation, dogs many times warns their owners of danger. You have probably heard many emotional stories of dogs scratching at the bedroom door to warn the family that the house was on fire. It happens all of the time.

One woman was suffering a heart attack while her dog literally broke through the backyard screen door to get to the husband, barking fiercely in the attempt to get the husband’s attention of what was happening inside the house. It worked – the woman survived.

Dogs also communicate with people by using their head and nose as part of the body actions. My friend’s three-year-old Dachshund nosed a message to him one afternoon. Sandy had learned that the covered candy dish on the coffee table was a good place to satisfy her sweet tooth.

This particular day, my friend was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper, and he wasn’t paying attention to Sandy. She jumped up on the couch and nudged him with her nose. When he looked at her, she gave her head a jerk, pointing her nose straight at the candy dish.

After sensing that he knew what she wanted, she began to jump up and down as if to say, “Please, please, please! Just one little piece!” My friend understood very well what my dog was saying with her nonverbal head and nose language.

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Dog Communication: Are You Listening? (Part 1)

EZ Homemade Dog Food

You’ve just gotten home after a brutal day at work. The headache from your busy schedule would love nothing more than to be relieved by a warm welcome from your family.

So who is the loving one that meets you at the door?

“Sammy” does… your three-year-old mongrel dog.

He’s wagging and wiggling from his head to the tip of his tail. He dances and jumps into your waiting arms, and, if you allow him, he licks you on the face. He’s glad to see you. Your dog has expressed himself in the language that he knows you understand.

Your dog uses body language and a variety of vocal sounds to communicate with his owner. The dog possesses an incredible ability to communicate with his owner: a universal language, telling man of danger, desire, loyalty and love.

Your dog talks to tell you how sad he is when he’s scolded. He shouts loud and clear his distress when a stranger or something unusual approaches, and he talks to you about how happy he is to be near you and share your companionship.

 

Your dog talks best with his tail. When you accidentally step on your pet or upbraid him, he will tuck his tail between his legs and cower down, showing his submission. By tucking the tail, the dog is hiding his scent and thus hiding himself. This language seems to go back to the ancient wild dog when submissiveness and dominance existed in the pack.

Your pet’s ancestors signaled his subservience to the dominant dog by dropping that tail. Today, the domesticated dog is saying, “I feel terrible about what happened.”

In contrast to the submissive tail movement, there is that happy, excited tail-wagging that states how much your dog wants to please you. The following story is such an example of this need to please:

Max, a Collie, did his doggie best to please his young owner while she was preparing for her wedding. Max had watched Angelica opening her wedding gifts the week before the ceremony. One afternoon, the Collie proceeded to provide a gift for Angelica…

He yanked a brocade pillow from a neighbor’s clothesline and brought it home. After placing the pillow at Angelica’s feet, he wagged his tail in sheer joy that he was pleasing his owner and sharing her prenuptial pleasures.

As you can see from this wonderfully heartwarming example of this Collie’s desire to communicate pleasure, dogs are also much more intelligent than we give them credit for, especially in the communication department.

Here’s to loving… and listening to your dog.

 

Greg Ray
EZ Homemade Dog Food

 

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