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Do You Understand What Your Dog Tells You?

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Hello my doggists!

Finally I can welcome you to my blog Sentit Caní, I’m so excited!

And what a better way to start than by introducing you to the world of dog’s language! So here it goes, dedicating this post to dog communication. 🙂

Dogs have a language to communicate among them. Although we can’t have conversations with them they are very communicative. Dog language consists of a wide variety of signals using their body, face, ears, tail, vocalisations, movements, expressions and rituals.

Understanding their body language, their actions and how they perceive us, we break the linguistic barrier that there is and we get to communicate more efficiently with our fury friends.

Most frequent dog signals are calming signals. These are used instantly when there is a situation to calm or to pacify; either to prevent a conflict, avoid threats from other dogs or people, to reduce fear in other dogs, to build a friendship with other dogs or with us, to simply show other dogs they are friendly and even to calm themselves if they feel insecure or under stressful conditions. Interesting, right?

It’s a universal language, all dogs have it. Most common calming signals are turning the head, showing their back, yawning, licking, staying still, lifting a paw, half-closing the eyes, sniffing the floor, walking slowly or making a curve, among many others!

Clica para hacer zoom! Columna izquierda: 1-bostezo; 2- girar la cabeza y lamerse el hocico; 3- girar la cabeza, lamerse el hocico. Columna derecha: 1-lamerse el hocico; 2- olisquear el suelo; 3- aproximarse lentamente, olisquear el suelo

Click to zoom! Left: 1-yawning; 2- turning head and licking; 3- turning, licking. Right: 1-licking; 2- sniffing the floor; 3- approaching slowly, sniffing around.

It’s like if they said “I’m not a threat”, “It’s ok”, “Keep it calm”, “Calm down”, “I come in peace”. Even to us when sometimes we may have told them off: Would you maybe think he’s ashamed or that he’s giving you the “guilty face” because he knows what he’s done? Or would you realise your dog is actually trying to calm you down (with his face and body signals)?

Would you like to know how your dog really feels?

I challenge you all to read Turid Rugaas’ book Calming Signals and to start identifying your dog’ s signals in any situation. Observe how he reacts when he greets another dog, when you take a picture too close, when you are about to yell at him and in any kind of situation that you have opportunity. You will see these signals are very fast and subtle, but practicing you will become great observers. (watch out, it’s addictive!) This is the way to learn to understand how your dog thinks and feels. Observe, observe, observe and observe. Besides, it’s a really good habit! Know your dog well, who knows…maybe that information might save his life one day.

Before I say goodbye for today I want to share with you all this great quote to reflect:

Until now most of communication was made in one single direction: we demanded something on the dog and he would answer. This is not enough for those people who really want to know and want to feel bonded to their dogs, being able to understand them.” Turid Rugaas

Communication is key in any relationship. Knowing how to do it correctly with your dog will improve your bond unquestionably!

When a dog tries to tell you something next time you will be able to do something about it and remember that when you greet a dog you always have the choice to show yourself threatening or relaxed. You can also use calming signals! When confronted with a fearful dog, with your own dog in a strange situation or even when you present yourselves to another dog.

So there is no excuse anymore not to start on a good foot or good paw 🙂

Welcome everyone once again and don’t forget to comment, share, give it a like and those kinda things! (Thanksssss)

I hope you have enjoyed the read and look out for my next post 😉


Belén García