Almost every pet parent reaches a point where they wish their dog can speak to them, just so they know exactly what their dog needs and wants.
While your dog is unable to speak words, he is capable of communicating with you. However, you will have to learn his language. Learning to read your dog’s body language and subtle gestures is essential to communication. Your keen eye and close observance of your dog’s behavior is beneficial during this process.
Feeling Your Emotions
At first, dog owners need to understand that their dog is in-tune with your emotions. This means that when you are feeling a variety of feelings such as happiness, sadness, depression, anxiety, stress and excitement, your dog is feeling those same emotions too. Your dog has the capability of sensing your mood and matching it.
This is important to know because it can interfere with reading your dog’s body language. If your dog is behaving irrational and seems like he is full of anxiety, take a look at the way you are feeling. If you are experiencing the same emotions, it is wise to calm yourself down. Your dog’s behavior during this highly emotional state may not be his own anxiety, but a mirror of your own and his body language will reflect that.
Your Dog’s Body Language
- Yawning – This sign is a common symptom of your dog feeling sleepy, but it is also a signal that he can be feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
- Ears – If your dog’s ears are pulled back he is conveying that he is nervous.
- Tail – Your dog’s tail can say two things. If he is wagging his tail freely he is feeling happy. However, if his tail looks stiff as he is wagging it, this is a sign of nervousness.
- Eyes – When your dog is holding his eyes wide open he is telling you he is feeling uncomfortable or afraid. Eyes that are relaxed show that your dog is in a calm state. Rounded eyes indicate surprise. If you can see the whites of your dog’s eyes this is a sign that your dog is feeling aggressive. Also the expression of your dog’s eyes can clearly show a sign of anger or calmness.
- Rolling on Back – Your dog may commonly roll on his back to ask for belly rubs or to convey that he is feeling playful.
- Bristled Fur – This is a sure sign of aggression and this should be taken seriously.
- Tongue Expression – If your dog is feeling aggressive and about to bite, he will pull his tongue and lips back, exposing his teeth. When your dog is happy and playful his tongue will appear floppy and loose.
- Running Style – Your dog will exhibit a particular style of running that allows him to move horizontally and vertically, creating a rocking back and forth when he is playing. The other running style that you should be aware of is when your dog is running with aggressive intent and moving quickly towards something or someone.
- Standing Still – This sign is commonly brief but important to communication. If your dog is feeling confident and relaxed he will stand with his weight balanced squarely on all four paws. When your dog is seeking to interact with you or others he will equally rest his weight on his hindquarters. This is a sign that he is ready to spring forward to play. This same stance can also show you that he is about to dart off in a direction that has his attention.
- More Exercise Requested – If you find that your dog is exhibiting unusual behavior such as running in circles, chewing on furniture or urinating on the floor, this is a sign that your dog is bored and needs more exercise. Your dog is showing you that he has plenty of energy to do all of these things and need an outlet such as increased exercise in their daily routine.
- You’re Feeling Sick – Since dogs are capable of sensing your emotions they seem to also have the ability to warn you when you are becoming ill. Dog’s are able to detect a chemical marker in humans and are able to warn of oncoming seizures related to epilepsy. Dogs are also able to sense low blood sugar and diabetics by merely smelling your breath. Dogs will use their body language by moving in closer to you at a slow pace.
- Protection Mode – Your dog is part of your pack and he will want to protect you and your family. He expresses his guard dog abilities by barking at strangers or guests, growling at other dogs and pulling forward on the leash to make sure everything is safe for you as you walk forward.
- Fear of Abandonment – If you come home to a chewed up door frame, diarrhea all over the floor and your dog panting, your dog is experiencing separation anxiety. This type of anxiety shows that your dog has fear that you will not return to him.
- Not Behaving Normally – If your dog is not acting like his normal joyful self, it is wise to observe his behavior more closely. He may seem exhausted, aggressive, not interested in playing, lack of appetite and many other behaviors that are not normal for your dog. This is usually sign that something isn’t quite right and your dog is feeling under the weather or depressed.
Pet parents that are able to read their dog’s silent signals can enjoy a lifetime of good communication with their dog. Your dog will remind you with his body language that he needs a regular routine of sleeping, eating, drinking, playing, social interaction, exercise and potty breaks.
Remember that your dog is always trying to communicate with you and your family. It is up to you to read the signs and learn his special silent language. Once you become familiar with your dog’s unique ability to communicate it will strengthen your bond.