How to learn to understand the body language of dogs?

Dogs are expressive. There is information sharing and expression of emotions between the members of the pack and between individuals of this species of living beings. Dogs use their body to communicate. They are able to transfer the body language of the animal to a man telling whether it is in good mood, whether they are happy, feel fear or joy, are angry or sad.

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The body of a dog is a complex mechanism of nonverbal communication. Happily, we people, can learn to understand and interpret it. Once you master the skills of "reading" the animal's posture and input signals, you will interpret the feelings and motivations of your dogs, or an unfamiliar dog and learn to foresee what the dog is going to do. Gained knowledge will help you to expand the boundaries of communication with your dog and its great joy and mutual security.

Let's begin to learn dog's body language from its "basics". Animals, while communicating use muscles of the snout, ears and tail position and movements of the body in space to express their intentions and attitude to the world and other living beings.

But you cannot consider only one component and dwell our attention on it. It is impossible to say what the dog wants only looking on its ears or tail. A man must learn to see body game of the dog. Consider it as a unit, and you will be able to understand what your four-legged friend wants.

Dogs' snouts can be of different sizes and configurations, but feelings they express are universal to any animal at any part of the world.

Dog's eyes can change the shape, size and direction of look.


When the dog is relaxed and is calm, its eyes are of normal size - round or almond shaped. If the dog is scared or it is in a state of stress, then the animal's eyeballs dilate or may narrow depending on the breed and the "personality" of the animal. When the dog is going to attack, its eyes also dilate or contract. Dogs in pain, sick animals or dogs ready to submit to another being lok asquint.

The direction of view also has its value. Dogs rarely look into each other's eyes, because in canine hierarchy it represents aggression. You can teach your dog, which directed look straight into the eyes of a man cannot be dangerous, and will bring a piece of happiness in its life. A dog that watches relaxed on you, is friendly and wants you to be noticed. The dog, intensely staring straight into your eyes, on the contrary, has not very good intentions. If you come too close to such an animal, look aside, because those dogs are watching like that they are not going to attack another member of the species.

The dog, avoiding direct contact with the eyes makes it clear that it is ready to obey or does not trust the man. Perhaps, it already has the sad experience with aggressive members of our species.

In that case, when the dog looks straight at you, and its pupils are displaced in such a way that whites of the eyes become clearly visible, know that this may be the sign of an aggression explosion. Dogs guard their bones, toys or their home with the same look.

Do not confuse such a look with the look of the dog is watching your actions. It can squint showing the whites of the eyes, but does not show the signs of aggression.

Chaps

This organ of the animal is necessary to not only eat and drink. Dogs do not speak, but the position of the lips, jaws and teeth mean something. When the dog is in a playful and relaxed state, its mouth is closed or slightly open. Widely open mouth and shallow breathing is a temperature control of the body. One can see the teeth, but it is not a state of aggression.

Frightened or subordinate to another living creature dog, keeps its mouth closed. In this case, the lips are slightly stretched towards the corners. Its tongue can fall out and pull in, the dog can make moves similar to those when it licks a human or other animal. The dog can also yawn widely in this state of mind.

When some dogs obey, they begin to "giggle". The upper lip is lifted, and the animal shows the upper row of teeth. In this case, its posture means that it is ready to obey. Its head is down, it yawns nervously and looks up. Some people mistakenly think that "giggling" dog shows aggression, but it is not true

When the dog is aggressive, it shows two rows of teeth and it lets down the lower lip, lifts the upper lip. Sometimes is raises the upper lip, but wrinkles the bridge of the nose. In such a way, it warns: do not come close to me!


The dog can also pull its lips horizontally and thus shows two rows of teeth, the eye and stomach teeth. This is a sign that the animal is frightened.


When the dog wants to bite, it lifts and pulls both lips, showing all its teeth.

Another lips condition of the animal when a dog "pulls" them over the teeth, teeth at the same time are closed, shallow breathing. In such position of lips, a dog wrinkles forehead as if saying: do not come closer.


The dog's ears. As many types of dog snouts as many types of ears of the dogs. The size and shape of the ears of the dog directly affect how well the animal can use them to communicate. Some breeds have hanging ears, some have stand-up ears, some have perched, and others have hanging ears "to the ground". Some dogs have cropped ears.


When the animal is relaxed, its ears are in a natural position. In case of danger, the dog lifts its ears and directs them to where the threat is. The position up and forward shows that the animal is aggressive. If it lifts and pulls ears back a little, the dog is friendly. If the ears are let down and laid back - it is a signal of fear or desire to obey.

The dog's tail

It is believed that when the dog wags its tail, then the animal is friendly. However, this is not so. Aggressive dog also wags its tail. The dog with fixed tail does not want to bite you.

The ability of an animal to "control" its organ depends on the physiology of the dog and its breed.

A classic tail, twist, short tail - these are some examples of the forms of dog tails.


In relaxed position, the tail of the animal is in its natural position. A dog expresses happiness wagging its tail from side to side. It shows excessive happiness when it wags its tail greatly or it's spinning. The worse dog's mood is, the lower is its tail. It can tuck its tail and hide between hind feet. Aggressive animal also wags its tail, but more sharply than in a good mood. Fright, obeyance - these feelings the dog expresses by pressing its tail to the stomach.



In the case of excitation, anxiety and so on, the dog's tail is in air, motionless, without the slightest movement. When defending their territory, desire to scare the counter party, the dog picks up its tail and pulls it back and forth.



Hair



Dog's hair can also serve to express her feelings. Frightened dog sheds its hair. If the dog was in your arms when it was frightened, you may notice that its hair covers you.



The dog can lift its hair near the nape or across the back. Such a reaction happens before the threat, aggression, and increased excitability of the animal.



Position of the body of the dog



Animals use their bodies to express their intention. Usually dogs look normal, but they can also "reduce" or "increase" the size of its body.



When a dog is happy or in a playful state, it looks normally. Its muscles are relaxed, it moves by distributing body weight on all four paws, jumps, accelerates while running, brakes. At the same time its snout is relaxed, the muscles are relaxed.



A frightened dog is a contrast to relaxed animal. In this case, the dog tends to look smaller than it actually is. It crouches or lies down on the ground, lets down its head, tries to crawl away from the object, which is a threat to it.



Conformable to the stronger one, the dog tries to "become smaller" in size and shows that it is not dangerous. In this case, the head is raised, and welcomes stronger representative of its species or human.



When the dog doubts or is interested in unfamiliar objects, it starts to creep, the weight is transferred to the hind feet. This is necessary in order to quickly retreat if necessary.



Dominant, evil and aggressive animal tries to become visually bigger. Muscles and posture are tense, neck and head are above the shoulders. Its weight is evenly distributed or transferred to the fore feet, making a quick a start to attack possible.



Let's fold the picture together



A happy and satisfied dog.



When the animal is happy, its body language is relaxed. The muscles are relaxed. The tail and ears are in a natural position. The dog does not try to increase or decrease its natural sizes. It wags its tail from side to side or in a circle. Mouth is half-open or closed, breathing is not shallow. The corners of the lips at the same time are raised a little and it seems that there is a smiling dog is in front of you.



An anxious dog



When the dog is worried it is focused and tense. The animal stands up, the weight is evenly distributed on all four paws. The ears are stand-up and point forward. Head and neck are tense. The tail is in either a natural position, or upright, tense and motionless. The look is directed towards where the worry comes from. The mouth is usually closed. It may growl or bark. Hair rises in the area of ​​the shoulders and back.



An excited dog



When the dog is excited it has approximately the same form as worried dog, but it shows some playfulness. The body is ready for action. Its sizes are not increased, but the weight is carried on the hind feet, the animal is ready for action. The ears and tail are raised, the eyes are directed to the exciting source of attention. The mouth may be opened as if the animal is going to bark.



A worried dog



Sometimes, it is difficult to discern whether the animal is worried, anxious or excited. Usually, the worry causes aggression - it is the only sign that allows to distinguish these states. The dog is worried when something annoys it. In this case, the body of the animal looks normal or slightly bigger, the ears tend to horizontal position and directed forward, the tail is in its normal position above or below. The dog usually does not look at object that annoys it, but sometimes it may look. Sometimes we find it hard to understand why the animal is so excited. Usually it is inaudible sound to us, or smell that is indistinguishable to the human nose.



A playful dog



This is the easiest case. Movements of the body of the playful dog are alive and mobile, it moves rapidly and jerky. The dog may circle, squat and bounce. It will scamper around the object that wakes its playfulness, attack him, and then suddenly run away, inviting to chase it. The animal can sometimes just jump on the subject and try to lick it. Dogs have different kinds of games. This may be a game of catch-up, attack and defense, as well as jogging for a stick or a toy. Almost all dogs "invite a partner" to the game. It expresses, that the animal strikes a pose in which the fore feet are on the ground, the hind feet are raised and set wide apart. Such a pose is very important in a dog's hierarchy. While playing, the dog may strike the pose of dominance or aggression. Inviting with its pose to play, the animal as if says: "It's just a game. Do not take it seriously. It has no consequences". Some dogs have "playful expression" on the snout. It is characterized by the fact that the mouth is partially open, and from the side it looks like the animal "smiles". While playing, the dog may bark and gnar in a high tone.



A frightened dog



Frightened dog tries to look smaller than it actually is. It humps its back, pulls tail between its hind feet, and lets ears down. It may squat. If there is a loophole to escape, then the body weight is transferred to the hind feet, the animal is ready to playfully retreat from danger. Sometimes, the dog moves its body to the side, ready to jump sharply. It can look directly at the object that is a threat to it or look away. The muscles of the body are tense. The animal begins to yawn nervously.



A dominant dog



While interacting with other members of their own species, as well as with a human, the dog can be aggressive, which is called the "dominant". In such a case, the dog put on dog, trying to increase its physical size and often raises, almost touching the ground with its claws. It arches its neck. The animal is stressful, focused, reminds a barrel. The weight is distributed on all four paws or slightly transferred on the fore feet. The ears are raised and directed forward. The tail is raised, the tip may quiver. Hair on the neck and back tilts up. The dominant dog usually looks straight into the eyes of other individual, growls, but the mouth is closed at the same time.



A subordinate dog



While interacting with other members of their own species or a human, a dog can express its obedience and submission by its appearance, as if making a promise: I am not a threat to you and I am not aggressive. At the same time it pulls the stomach, squats, the tail is let down or pulled between the hind feet, sometimes the dog wags it from side to side. Ears are hanging on both sides, the head is pointed down, but the animal looks at the object of submission. It can stick its tongue or lick its lips. In such a case, the dog tries not to look in the opposite direction, whether it is a human or an animal. An incontinence of urine (especially among puppies) may happen.



From the active obedience dog often goes to passive subordination. It lies on its back, shows stomach and does not cover it with its tail. In this position, the animal can lie without movement, or tries to crawl to another living being. It looks up. In this position, the incontinence of urine may happen.



An aggressive and frightened dog



If the dog is aggressive and frightened, then it exhibits the same behavior traits that when it is frightened, but shows its teeth and growls. In that case, if the animal sees no escape routes, its fear can escalate into aggression, in which the animal can bite another living being. The dog squats, but shows its teeth and growls. If there is a bite, it is only one, and the animal tries to get away from the place that is a threat to it as soon as possible. Some dogs wait until another creature begins to move away, and then run away, without losing sight of the dangerous object.



A threatening and aggressive dog.



If the dog is evil and is confident in its superiority, it begins to speak threatening and aggressive language of its body. It is ready to attack. The attack can take place even when another living being is motionless or retreats. The dog tries to increase its physical size. The head and tail at the same time are raised high and strained, ears are pointed forward. Hair is up end. Weight is transferred to the fore feet, and the animal is ready to jump or pounce. The sight is directed to the object of aggression. It shows its teeth, the dog raises its nose and upper lip, showing the front row of teeth. It growls, barks in menacing tone.



An aggressively defending dog



Before it behaves aggressively, many dogs do preventive gestures with its bodies. If they do not help, then the animal shows a sign: "I will defend and attack". The animal always prefers to escape from a stronger opponent, but in a desperate situation, it is ready to defend.



Feeling fear and anger, the dog shows signs of behavior inherent to these two states and expresses them by language of its body, using the signs of fear and attack.



Usually, the animal tries to increase in size, ears are stand-up and point straight forward, and the tail is raised and tense. Depending on the situation, its body weight is distributed on all four paws on both fore and hind feet. It depends on how close the threat is to a dog, whether the animal is going to defend, attack or escape. The dog shows teeth, wrinkles face, growls, barks mostly in a high tone. It raises hair. In this case, the human assertion seems right, that the best defense is the attack.



Some animals bluff and after simulating the attack they immediately run away. Some, depending on its confidence and the weakness of the enemy, attack seriously the living creature, which they consider as a threat. If you properly appraise the condition of the dog and are able to correctly read its body language, then you will avoid many unforeseen troubles and better understand your pet.