Most people spend hundreds of quid trying to train their dogs to obey, submit, and to learn the
cues of being assertive. The funny part is, you will actually spend significantly less if you invest
just as much time and resources into creating a bond with your dog, and learning its non-verbal
language. There are a lot of frustrated dog owners out there who can’t quite get their pets to obey. What they fail to realize is your dog talks to you all the time. The constant barking, the cowering, the tucked tail, the panting and whining, and even the lack of movement are all non-verbal cues that you should pay close attention to. That said, perhaps instead of concentrating so much on how to make my dog listen to me, perhaps you should shift your focus on trying to understand your dog for a change.
How about we straighten out some key indicators on dog body language to help you clear the air. The first and most neglected non-verbal cue most dogs have is when they snap their head back suddenly. Dogs experience as many complex emotions as humans, and most times what you think they like, they really don’t. Discomfort or pain is usually indicated but a sharp snap of the dog’s neck towards the area you are touching. This mostly seems like the dog wants to bite, and while it may seem playful, in most cases, it’s not!!
In some cases, touching a painful spot on a dog that isn’t familiar with you, or hasn’t been
properly socialized to human interaction may seem like an act of aggression, and the dog may
bite you. This is the most important body language to understand, especially for kids.
Dogs are naturally motion-phobic, and it takes them a bit of time to get accustomed to constant
rides on boats or cars. These intelligent pets actually read the signs when you are about to shove
them in the back seat, and they become increasingly uneasy. If you notice your dog pacing,
whining, or even panting heavily right after you pick up your car keys, it doesn’t particularly
enjoy the trip. Like humans, dogs do get car sick, and if you have noticed your dog getting nauseous on a trip to
the supermarket, then it doesn’t enjoy the trip as much as you do! Learn to read and appreciate
what your dog dislikes, this will go a long way towards improving your bond.
Dogs are pretty easy to read when they want some TLC they will nudge at your hand as soon as
you stop petting them. If they don’t like it however, they will turn away as soon as you lift your
hand to continue the petting.
The stiff body
A commonly misunderstood body language is the stiff body. Most dog owners mistake it to be a
dog’s way of indicating approval. It, unfortunately, means the exact opposite. It is usually an
indication of apprehension, of fear or simply of something your dog doesn’t like. If your dog stays stiff or stares into oblivion, then it has probably sensed something, perhaps a person at the
door, or a cat, and it is about to react to it.
The Tucked tail
This is a pretty obvious sign of fear. Dogs usually face down and tuck their tail between their
legs when they are afraid. It’s up to you to reassure them or, if you can’t, try and get them out of
that situation the best way you can.
Unlike humans, a dog’s yawn doesn’t inherently indicate hunger. Dogs can sense their owner's
stress or even tension in the home. Fights with siblings or spouses may trigger your dog to yawn
as a way to reduce tension or try to get you to take a calm the situation.
Dogs have dozens of sounds and signals that indicate how they are feeling. The cowering, even
bringing you random objects like one of your shoes, are all forms of communication that you
should be privy to. It all boils down to mutual respect and understanding.