Understanding Your Dog's Body Language

Cover Image - Understanding Your Dog's Body Language

If you’re saying you didn’t once want to be Dr. Doolittle, we may have to end this fur-endship. Understanding our pawsome pets is what dreams are made of! Although this dream may seem unattainable, we’re going to let you in on a little secret. You too can learn how to speak dog!

Now, if you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you’d already know how to be the purrrfect cat whisperer. Just as we deciphered out cat’s body language, we too can become experts in dog communication. All it takes is a little awareness and a deep understanding of dog body language. Even though our dogs may not be saying anything, their paws do a lot of talking!

Without further ado, here’s how to become fur-lingual in a few simple steps. 

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How to Speak Dog: 

Dog body language involves a little bit of detective work and even a bit of psychology. It’s all about understanding your pooch’s emotions and intentions! On top of that, it can be very different from how us hoomans communicate. In other words, it’s more about the non-verbal cues rather than their howls and barks. But, never fear. Door Buddy is here to guide the way. 

It’s All in the Eyes

They say that the eyes are the window into the soul, and your doggo is no different. Your dog’s eyes will tell you a lot about how they’re feeling and how you should approach them. 

When looking at how to speak dog, your best bet is to look at the white part of their eyes. The focus and intensity of your doggo’s gaze will help you determine their emotions. When your dog’s feeling tense, you will notice that their eyes may appear rounder than normal. You might also notice that they show a lot of white. When this happens, they may need a bit of a time out to relax. 

Dilated pupils are another point to look out for. If your dog is showing signs of a glassy appearance, they may be feeling threatened, stressed, or frightened. This is a notable difference to the almond-shaped appearance that happens when they’re relaxed. 

The Tell-Tale Tail Wagging

What would you do if we told you that tail wagging isn’t always a sign of a happy dog? It’s true! This aspect of dog body language simply means that your pooch is feeling a little emotional. This can range from excitement to frustration. Interpreting these emotions lies in the speed and direction of the wag.

When it comes to speed, a good rule of thumb is that the faster the wag, the more arousal your doggo may be facing. Slow and long tail sweeps are the kind of wags you can expect to see when they greet you. Now, try and picture your dog when they’re on high alert - it’s a lot faster, right?

You should also consider the position of your pooch’s tail to thoroughly learn how to speak dog. You may already know that when your dog’s tail is tucked between their legs or pointing towards the ground, they may be feeling stressed or scared. However, tails pointed up in the air can mean that they’re feeling confident or, at times, aggressive. 

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Perfecting the Posture

A great way of understanding dog body language is by deciphering their posture. Doing so will give you a thorough insight into their mood and emotions.

Quick, picture your doggo when they’re scared and stressed. They will most likely be found cowering off in a corner being hunched towards the ground. The reason why they do this is to appear smaller and show the threat that they mean no harm. You may even have a doggo that rolls onto their back in times of anxiety

On the flip side, bigger and more assertive posture can indicate that your dog’s showing interest in something or that they’re becoming slighting aggressive. It’s best to consider other dog body language cues here to get the full picture. 

Then, we all know the classic play bow. When your doggo places their chest to the ground, they’re looking for a bit of fun. When this happens, grab their favorite toy and get to it!

Mouthing Off

Believe it or not, facial expressions are possible in dogs too! Although these features aren’t used in the same way as hoomans, they can tell you a lot about dog communication. 

Take yawing, for example. For hoomans, this is a clear indicator of boredom or tiredness. However, your pup may yawn when they’re feeling stressed. Letting a yawn or two out will help your doggo calm themselves in uncomfortable situations like when they’re visiting the vet. Fun fact, it also helps calm others around them!

Does your pooch have a dazzling smile? Depending on the situation, this smile can serve as a warning. When your dog bares their teeth, and it’s followed by a menacing growl, consider this an alert signal. However, if they’re only showing their front teeth, this can be a sign of one happy doggo. Especially if it’s accompanied by a loose and wiggly body! 

All Ears

Last but not least, in your quest in how to speak dog, you have to look at the ears. Dog ears come in all shapes and sizes which largely depends on the breed of your dog. However, the best way to look at this form of dog communication is to look at the ear position. This will be your best bet to see how your dog’s feeling. 

So, what should you look out for? It’s all about the base of the ear. When your dog is relaxed, their ears will be slightly back or out to the sides. When they come aroused, they will move forward and even point towards the target. 

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Well, we bet you didn’t think your dog’s actions could tell you that much! Dog communication can be pretty woof to navigate, but once you’ve got it down, you’ll never go back. Learning how to speak dog can help you with your dog training and connect with your pooch on a whole new level.

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