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Understanding Your Dog’s Behaviour and Sign Language
Understanding a dog's behaviour is essential for people. Just like humans, every dog has a specific way of doing or expressing things that owners eventually recognise. However, most people do not know the meaning behind the standard practices that dogs do and mistake them for something else. Hence, it is necessary to have an understanding of dog behaviour beforehand, and it helps people become better caregivers and provide animals with healthy companionship.
Read along to know the actual meaning behind some of the everyday things that dogs do.
How to Read Your Dog’s Body Language?
There are several things that dogs do that convey how they feel. Sometimes, the gestures are very similar to what humans do but have an entirely different meaning. Therefore, understanding the body language of a dog is very necessary. Listed below are a few standard things dogs do and what they mean.
1. Tail Wagging
Tail wagging is the most common dog sign language that one needs to understand. People take the tail's wagging as a sign that the dog is happy. In reality, wagging the tail is a sign that the dog is aroused. It could be happiness, excitement and sometimes also aggression.
Besides, the direction in which they wag their tails also indicates how they feel. Often when dogs wag their tails towards the right, it is because they are happy, and when they wag it to the left, it could indicate a more negative feeling.
2. Raised Hackles
Raised hackles mean the hair on their back standing straight. This is a sign that a dog is aroused and also a sign of shock. Things like getting drenched or jump scares can cause this. Raised hackles in dogs are similar to goosebumps in humans.
3. Facial Expressions
Dogs have similar facial expressions as humans, although they have different meanings. Yawning in dogs is a sign of stress, and they yawn in order to release tension during tense situations.
Another common dog sign language includes a state when dogs do is lick their lips. Just like humans, dogs lick their lips after a delicious meal. However, it is not the only time dogs lick their lips. They do it when they feel anxious, indicating that they want to get out of the specific situation.
One of the most confusing expressions of a dog is when they smile. Dogs look terrifying when they smile, but it is harmless. Their face is shaped into a C while the front of their teeth is visible, and their ears are pulled back.
What Is the Meaning of Different Dog Postures?
Understanding the body language of a dog helps in understanding how they feel. Their posture tells a lot about what goes on inside their mind. Mentioned below are a few poses and their meaning.
1. Hunching Towards the Ground
When hunched towards the ground, they express fear, which means they want to get away from something or someone. When dogs realise they have done something wrong, they tend to hunch towards the ground. Hence, this posture also expresses guilt.
The play bow is another posture practised by dogs where they touch the ground with their chest and raise their back in the air. This is common when they want to play with people or other dogs.
3. Leaning Forward
Another common posture is leaning forward towards something, indicating that they want to reach a particular object and get it.
4. Raising the Paw
Raising the paw is a relatively aggressive indication. In most cases, dogs carry out this posture before they chase something, and this can be seen commonly when dogs spot cats. However, in rare cases, this posture might indicate a dog's insecurity.
5. Lying Flat on the Back
Another prevalent posture that people find dogs in is lying on their backs. This usually hints towards belly rubs, and in most cases, it is. However, sometimes, this might be an indication of anxiety in dogs.
What Is the Meaning of Different Eye Positions of a Dog?
Just like humans, looking at a dog's eye will also tell people how they feel. Moreover, for dog owners striving to understand different dog sign languages, must notice the following eye positions of a dog:
- When dogs are relaxed or happy, their eyes will have a soft look in them, and it may also appear like they are squinting.
- On the other hand, it is very easy to identify when dogs pass the hard stare. It is usually when they are trying to protect something or are showing signs of aggressiveness.
- Eye contact is an essential factor when trying to determine how a dog is feeling. When dogs experience discomfort, they tend to look away. People take this as a sign of the dog trying to ignore them, but in reality, it means they are stressed.
- When dogs show the ‘whale-eye’ or the white part of the eye, it determines that the animal is stressed. They often do it when something causes discomfort or when they are worried or anxious.
What Is the Meaning of Different Ear Positions of a Dog?
Looking at a dog's ear is also helpful in knowing how they feel. When their ears are pulled up straight, it means that they are alert. When dogs sense something is wrong, they tend to become alert and read the situation.
Understanding dog behaviour is the key to having a healthy relationship with the animal. It helps the owners better attend to their pet's needs and keeps the animal comfortable.