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Understand What Your Dog Is Saying – The Various Ways Dogs Communicate With Their Owners

Dog parents talk to their canine friends all the time. From giving instructions to praising them to telling them about their day and sharing secrets, the conversation between dog owners and their pet is never ending. This conversation may seem to be one-sided, but many dog owners feel that their pets are actually responding in their conversations. Sounds a bit strange, but it turns out that they’re right!

While dogs cannot speak, research tells that pet dogs do communicate with their owners using referential signaling. To help all the dog owners out there develop a better understanding of what their faithful canine friend is trying to say to them, let’s discuss some of the non-verbal communication signals dogs use:

· Eye Signals

Humans are not the only ones whose eyes express their feelings. Dogs’ eyes do so too. Here’s what different types of dogs’ eye signals mean:

  • If your dog is staring at you, he most probably wants your attention.
  • However, staring at something without blinking may be a sign of aggression.
  • If your dog is holding eye contact with you, he is showing his affection and trust on you.
  • But, if he is avoiding eye contact, it means he’s scared or uncomfortable.
  • Dogs are typically on high alert when the whites of their eyes are visible.
  • And when they close their eyes (what they generally do when you give them a belly rub), it means they’re enjoying.  

· Tail Wags and Postures

A dog’s tail postures or movements are the easiest to observe, but they are also often misunderstood. A wagging tail isn’t always an expression of joy and happiness. Different types of canine tail wags can mean different things:

  • A slow wag exhibits a dog’s discomfort or insecurity in meeting a new person or pet.
  • A fast wagging tail that’s also vertically erected is a sign of aggression.
  • A freely wagging tail, sometimes accompanied with the wiggle of hips, shows friendliness.

In addition to wagging, dogs also communicate through different tail positions. Here are some of them:

  • When the tail of a dog is straight and stiff, it most likely means that the dog is tracking something very closely.
  • A low held and/or tucked tail is a sign of submission and fear.
  • A curled tail generally indicates relaxation. However, it can also be a sign of dominance or confidence.

· Ear Signals

Ever noticed how your dog’s ears perk up when you call his name? This is a sign of alertness. However, it can also indicate curiosity. The next time you take your dog out for a walk and something incites his curiosity, notice his ears; you will find their ears pointed up. Here are some other things the position of your dog’s ears can tell:

  • When a dog’s ears are pinned back, this means he is uncomfortable and unhappy.
  • Droopy ears indicate submission
  • When the dog continues to flick his ears back and forth, it means he is confused or trying to figure out something.
  • When the ears of a dog are in neutral position, it shows that he is relaxed.

The Sum Up

These communication signals not only help dog owners understand their pets better, but can also come in very handy during dog training sessions. They can help you figure out if different techniques are working the way you want them to or they’re doing more harm than good.


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