Most people find it difficult to communicate with their pets as animals do not understand or speak the language of words. For this reason, it is highly important to educate yourself if you plan on adopting a pet.
If not by speaking, dogs have many ways they try to express their needs and feelings. Their body works almost like human beings, it reacts to changes, conditions, and health issues, which is why it is important to understand their body language.
What is body language?
It is the use of the body to convey some information/message. If you thought only humans could communicate secretly through their eyes, you need information. How often have you conveyed something to your best friend in a gathering just by your eyes or expressions? Did you know that your dog may have tried to talk to you through body language too?
Humans and animals both can use their facial expressions, eye movements, body posture and space to express their feelings.
How do dogs express body language?
Body language is often neglected in the case of animals and dog body language is one of them. It is true that your dog also tries to talk to you through their face, eyes, nose, ears, body etc. Indeed, different dogs behave differently. Some are expressive and some are not. But, there is no way your dog has never used body language to communicate. All dogs have body language.
They often react immediately to anything new or unknown in their space. Whether they like something or not, they will try to convey it to you. If you do not understand your dog’s body language, you are neglecting a very important part of that relationship.
Have you ever noticed how parents understand exactly what their newborn feels like or needs without any words? This happens through the communication of body language. While human babies learn to talk eventually, dogs do not and this is why learning and understanding their body language is essential for you as their owner.
Dog’s body language and its significance:
- Dogs have often been observed to lean on their companion if they need attention. Many dog owners have reported that their dogs often rely on them whenever they’re busy doing their work and try to cuddle. This means they are looking for attention and it’s time you leave the employment aside for some time and enjoy the playtime.
- Dogs often bring their toys to their companion, which is also their way of asking you to play with them. They might also show affection by sharing their stuff with you as they have observed you feeding and treating them with their favourite food.
- When your dog is tail wagging, it is often assumed that they’re happy, which could be true but not always. While it’s true that through tail wagging, they are trying to convey some emotion, it could be sadness and frustration, so you need to observe more behaviour of your dog to confirm this.
- Body posture is another way dogs express how they feel. How they sit and lay down shows how they’re feeling. If their body posture is relaxed and calm, they might be trying to relax and wouldn’t want to be disturbed or cuddled during that. But, if you notice their body posture uncomfortable, they might be sick or in fear of something alarming. Dogs’ body posture is often awkward when they are new pets. You need to earn their trust to make them feel relaxed.
- When dogs yaw, they’re not exactly sleepy. They’re stressed instead and you must find out the cause.
- Licking can be a bit confusing as some dogs lick their mouth if they eat something loved by them but they also use the same action to express anxiety. The act of licking is so quick that it gets difficult to understand, but, in this case, you must notice their behaviour overall and how they’re feeling.
- Eyes are another essential part of dog body language. If they have a relaxed pupil, it most probably means they’re calm, but they might be uncomfortable or scared if they have squinted eye posture.
- If dogs have raised ears, it could indicate something alarming that they may have noticed. They often raise their ears when they hear an unknown sound, footsteps or smell something new.
- If your dog is active and running around the place, they’re probably in a good mood and having a great time and you might want to join them in that.
- If the dogs keep stretching more than usual, they might be feeling lazy due to various possible reasons i.e. obesity etc. But, dogs also often stretch normally after playtime and after they feel a little tired and want to relax. Some dogs also try after they wake up from a nap and have had a good one.
- Pregnant dogs have different body postures and express comfort and discomfort differently. If your dog is pregnant, you must educate yourself about that.
How to understand my dog’s body language?
Well, some expressions are very common in dogs as listed above. But, different dogs express themselves differently. To understand your dog’s body language, the best you can do is spend time with them. This will create a bond between you and know how they express and react to different situations and things.
If you have been spending time with them and still unable to understand their body language, you are possibly not paying much attention. Spending time with them does not only mean providing them with food and toys. It would be best if you also saw how they react to the food you offer them or anything else for that matter.
There are various ways that your dog tries to talk to you and it is your duty as their companion and owner to pay attention to it. If they feel ignored and uninvolved, they will not be a happy member of your family. If you notice something very unusual in their body language, you must inform their veterinarian and get professional advice.