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Pet Talk! Decoding Your Dog’s Body Language

Q: My dog is trying to tell me something using his body, but I don’t understand what he wants to say. Do you have any information about “dog body language” so I can communicate better with my best friend?

Although it is an acknowledged fact that dogs are way more expressive than other pets, however, they still belong to kingdom Animalia, and they are not blessed to adequately express their feelings in words like we Homo sapiens do.

For dogs like many other canines and felines, it is their body language that breaks the barrier and helps as a medium of communication between the two species.

Look, we have to understand somewhat what message they are trying to convey through their body gestures and vocals. However, often time, we all fail to comprehend the hidden meaning and assume something while they are trying to convey the complete opposite.

Do not you think it is the comprehension and understanding that could bind us with our pets more intimately and powerfully?

In this piece of writing, we’ll converge our focus on the one part, our best friend, and a domestic pet in the whole long list of pets. Yes, I am talking about your pup. So let’s all gain valuable knowledge about the dog body language and try to understand what the various body gestures mean.

Moreover, at the end of this article, I bet you will have some bizarre facts about the dogs’ behavior and the messages they convey using their bodies. Moreover, all you have to do is to keep on reading this piece.

The dog is a very complicated creature when it comes to body language. There are many meanings hidden in their simple licking only. So, sometimes, it becomes a complicated deal to understand the gesture accurately.

The canines use complex signals and gestures to reflect their thoughts and desires. The signs are consciously or unconsciously delivered the intentions and also ensured the safety of the pet.

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OH NO! He is Fearing:

Storm DogThe dogs are the most significant attention seekers. They do whatever they have in their power to get all your love and attention. However, what if he has a fear of something? How to show him affection and unconditional love?

I can assure you he is going to love your gesture of friendship.

  • Snooting and ear licking;
  • Lip licking;
  • Jumping on you;
  • Lowering the body, curving it or play bowing;
  • Clacking or smiling.

All these gestures are sued by the dogs to convey their appeasement or attention-seeking behaviors, so if your pet is doing one of these, then give him a good belly rub.

Along with these active body signals, the dogs may convey the message of fear, though passive submission or body freezing.

Watch out When he is Trying to Hide Something:

Trust me; it is very much prevalent in dogs; they like to confuse humans. So apart from appeasement and attention-seeking behavior, another most common practice found in dogs is one through which they give the signals of displacement.

But why they do that?

Well, maybe your canine is not in a mood for sharing his true feelings, so he does something like scratching, yawning, sneezing, and even licking itself.

All these behaviors are the gestures to distract the attention of the others from what the pup is feeling.

Here is the tip: Always look for the overall body language of the pet.

The trick is to keep track of the other parts of the dog’s body and vocals when he is trying to deliver some message to his particular body part.

You have to keep track of the overall movement of the canine to understand the meaningfully. The whole study of the dog body gives you’re a glimpse of the overall mental and emotional state of your dear pet.

WATCH OUT! He is Stressing Out:

Your Dog Is StressedThreat or fear of something shapes our behaviors, and this is something on which we have no control. The same is valid for the canine species.

The dogs akin to their adopting parents show specific kinds of behaviors that they use a tool to ease up on stress or to combat fear.

Do you know similar to us humans, a dog also yawn when they feel tired or sleepy? Well, not only this, but the dogs do yawn when they are nervous about something. Not just the yawning is the signal of nervousness, but there is something else.

We all know that the dog does lip licking when they feel hungry, but do you know they also do the same when they experience fear or feel nervous.

So here is the list of the dogs’ behaviors that tend to explain different emotional and mental conditions.

  • A yawning dog could be a tired dog or a stressed one.
  • A dog engages in lip licking, or flicking would probably be a nervous one.
  • A semi-freeze pup: Well, beware as he held himself for a while before reacting to some situation.
  • Full body freeze: So basically, if your dog is in a full-body freeze position, then kept in mind that he is deciding between the two options. Flight or fight. So either he is going to stay like that until unless the threat has gone or maybe he fights back with a bounce.
  • Whale eyes: Sometimes, even though the canine keeps his head turned away from the perceived threat, but even he is still glaring at it with the help of the whites of the eyes. So if your dog is showing this gesture, then try to find the threat and take it away.
  • Turning of the head: On encountering any fear, the dog is most likely to turn his head away. This gesture of appeasement is a sign of fear.
  • Tensed facial features: The stressed eyebrows, twitching whiskers, and the tensed facial features are the signs of stress.
  • Tightly closed jaws: The closed jaw is the pre-action symbol.
  • Hugging: Well, we all know the dog embraces the parent when he wants to show affection and also wants to get comfy.
  • Low tail carriage: This gesture shows the distress and insecurity in your pet.
  • Curved tongue: The dog curved his tongue because of tension.
  • Dry and croaky panting or drooling: The dry panting of your canine could be the sign of extreme nervousness. While in the case of drooling, the stress could make your dog salivate excessively.
  • Shaking body: In case of sudden fear or an extreme adrenaline rush, the whole body of the dog starts shaking.
  • Piloerection: It is a process more than a gesture. In this, the hairs on the neck of the dog stand like goose bumps in humans and also release order for the follicles of the hairs.

Dog Body Signs

Understanding Dog Body Language:

Have you ever come across the term deference language? Well, it is the language or the responsiveness of your canine in case of any danger. The best trick in case of any threat is too simple to choose the non-threatening behavior.

If your dog learns to show the deference behavior by lowering down his body and by calm itself down, then the other animals may automatically calm down.

However, here, the difference is socially trained dogs take the deference behavior positively while the others take it as a weakness and choose not to follow.

Mentioned below are the gestures regarding the deference or appeasement language.

  1. Lowering down on the head;
  2. Turning away the head;
  3. Rolling the eyes away;
  4. Lip licking;
  5. Tucked tail between the legs or also the lower carriage tail;
  6. The curved or lower body;
  7. Stomach flips to withdraw from interacting with others.

“How to Read Dog Body Language?”

Curiosity Language:

Yes, this is one thing about dogs that we all know that they are the most curious animals. So if you want to know whether or not your dog is showing the gesture of being curious here are some examples:

  • Lifted front paw;
  • Cocking the head in one direction;
  • Closing of mouth to be prepared for the next move.

Displacement Language:

Your dog will demonstrate the displacement behavior only when he wants to relocate or divert his attention from something. He may start sniffing or scratching the ground to divert the attention from the potential threat.

  • Nose licking;
  • Sneezing;
  • Sniffing;
  • Yawning;
  • Shaking;
  • Spinning;
  • Pacing.

Defensive Language:

Growling DogIn the above para, we discussed behave of the canine if he feels a potential threat or fears, but what about his behavior when he has to defend himself?

This language entails the actions to warn the danger to keep the distance and includes:

  • Tense jaws.
  • Growling: along with pushed lips.
  • Air snapping: the canine snaps right in the air to remind the threat.
  • Quick nip: the quick nip is the sharp bite of the danger to cause some bruise but no serious injury. It is the last warning from the dog to back off.
  • Wagging tail: a wagging tail is not always the gesture of the happy canine.
  • Bite, hold, and then shake: this is something which the dog does seriously to injure someone.

Relaxed Language:

A happy dog is something we all adore and want to have.

If you have a dog who prefers to stay happy and jolly, then TRUST me, you do not need any painkiller or stress killer.

The relaxing gesture of the canine is the most obvious one. The dog conveys this language through a relaxed and fluid body, slightly open mouth, and hanging tongue. Some of the other signs of comfortable body gestures are:

  • Minute freezes of the body during play.
  • Play bow.
  • Turning around and inviting you to rub the belly. It is part of dog trust and social interaction.
  • Blinking eyes.
  • Wagging tails mostly like a helicopter in a round motion.
  • Wiggling backside.

Dog Body Language – Wagging Tail:

Dog Wagging Tail Behavior RevealedMost of the time, the most misunderstood behavior of the dog is his wagging tail. If you, like most of the dog owners out there, think that a wagging tail is the symbol of a happy dog, then you are hardly mistaken.

I am not saying that it is not at all the sign of a happy dog well indeed it is, but along with that, some of the dogs do show wagging tail sign to portray frustration, over-stimulation, or arousal.

However, the problem is how someone with little or no knowledge about his know what kind of emotional state his dog is in?

Well, for the sake of your identification, here are some of the wagging tail examples for you to comprehend the dog emotions.

  • Keeping the tail in the air with the scent of the anal glands circulates is the gesture of an aroused dog.
  • If your dog is wagging the tail, along with tens face and defensive body position, he may be frustrated or overly aroused.
  • Between the legs tails is the sign of low confidence, fear, and nervousness in your canine.
  • The slowly wagging tail is for the dog who is accessing the situation.
  • While an extended and curved tail means the canine is stressed out and is willing to attack if disturbed.
  • Last but not least, the wagging in the round shape trial is the sign of a happy dog who wags his tail like a helicopter.

“Why do Dogs Wag their Tails?”

When you bring some pets in your home, it becomes your responsibility, and you have to take care of them more than your children.

The pets are our friends and partners, so; it is pertinent to learn their gestures and to understand their requirements and desires.

Have a good relationship with your canine!

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