Do you know what your dog is telling you? Can you discern what your dog is telling you via body language? Dogs communicate their emotional and body states via a body language. Although they sometimes use signals and sounds to communicate, most of their communication is by either facial expressions or body postures.
It is important to understand what your dog is saying to you. When your dog is nervous and spooked, it will strive to communicate through body language telling you something is going on. By understanding dog’s body language, you will know when it is anxious about something, when it is depressed and when it is edgy and wants to bite someone.
1). Signs of Anxiety
The following signs indicate that your canine friend is in an uncomfortable situation. It is important for you to intervene to avoid pushing the dog into a defensive position- you know too well how they defend themselves.
One Paw Raised
The dog is uncomfortable about whatever is happening to it. Find out what is making it anxious instead of petting it.
Half Moon Eye
When your canine friend feels that you have disturbed him so much, he looks at you with a half moon eye. He is telling you he needs some rest; he needs some time alone.
Displacement behavior in a dog is seen when the dog has an urge to do something, but he has an inner voice telling him not to do it. To overcome the situation, the dog does something else out of context. For instance, a child takes a bone from the dog. The dog is angry and wants to bite him, but instead, the dog chooses to bite itself to avoid hurting the child.
Examples of displacement behaviors include:
- Scratching when it is not itchy
- Yawning when it is not tired
- Sniffing objects or the ground
- Barking when there is no disturbance.
- Biting paws and other body parts when angry.
At times, dogs are more open and will move away from a situation which makes them uncomfortable. This is called avoidance behavior. This is especially when children are the cause of the anxiety. Some of the avoidance behaviors include:
- The dog gets up and leaves children who are playing with it.
- Hiding behind an object or person
- Turning its head away
- Barking and retreating
- Tail between legs
- Rolling on its back in a submissive way
- Rapid panting with ears pointing backward
2. Signs of Arousal
There are body language signs that indicate when your dog is interested in something. Signs of arousal show when a dog is trying to make a decision on what to do. Such signs include:
- Closed mouth
- Ears projected forward.
- The body rolled forward.
- Intense eyes
- Slow, deliberate tail wag
- Hold its wagging or un-wagging tail
Signs of arousal are seen when a dog sees a squirrel and wants to chase it, or when it seeks to chase a ball during the fetch game. The dog focuses all its energy on what it is about to do.
3. Signs of a Happy Dog
Many signs indicate your dog is happy. Such signs include:
- Relaxed body position
- Relaxed, panting and having a happy expression
- Enthusiastic tail wag
- When a dog lies with one paw tucked under its body.
- When it is in a play bow position
- When it is thumping its tail on the ground
4. Signs of Imminent Bite
When the dog displays signs of an impending bite, please stop whatever you are doing to it and leave. It’s only a matter of seconds before he sinks his canines into your flesh. These signs include:
- The dog freezes and stiffens
- It stands with its head low, and front legs splayed, staring at you.
- It curls its lip to show teeth.
When your dog gets to this position, do not go near it, do not take anything from it, avoid eye contact and keep your kids away from it.
5. Signs of Aggression
When your dog shows signs of aggression such as uncontrolled barking, you should seek professional help from a behavior consultant. When the following signs are directed towards you or your family member, you should seek professional assistance immediately:
- When a dog guards its area (resting or sleeping area) against you or family members
- When it snarls and growls at you
- When it urinates on your possession in your presence
- When it bites puppies or other dogs
These are the conventional interpretations of your dog’s body language. Your dog will always find a way to communicate you either deliberately or unintentionally. To effectively promote a good relationship with your dog, understand its body language to improve communication.