Although animals cannot speak, they can communicate perfectly well with each other – and with humans too. Just by paying attention to your pet’s behaviour, you can learn all about their emotions. How do you understand your dog’s body language? Observation is a simple way to understand your pet’s reactions, and it’s also the easiest way to prevent behavioural problems, avoid misunderstandings and deal with unwanted behaviour. Find out what your dog is saying to you!
Canine emotions hidden in body language
Caring for your pet does not just mean pleasures such as buying him accessories such as toys or a bed. For a dog, social relationships are very important – so you need to understand them well in order to be able to communicate with them. The first research into the body language of these animals began in the 1950s. Wolf packs were observed using clear signals to establish a hierarchy, to signal contentment or anger, to avoid or cause conflict. Dogs have had to learn to use body language, even though man has changed their appearance – breeds with very long hair covering their eyes or brachycephalic breeds only use some signals, yet they are still legible to all members of the species.
It’s worth knowing your pet’s body language
Why should every pet owner know what their dog’s body language means? It is the easiest way to avoid many problems, keep yourself and your pet safe and make your pet feel happy. By knowing the meaning of the calming signals and those indicating aggression, you will be able to predict when your dog is about to attack another animal, when he is afraid of it and is about to throw himself into a run, whether he likes something and what makes him uncomfortable. So how do you interpret the signals your dog sends out?
How does your pet show joy? A dog’s body language in such a case is usually unmistakable. The animal:
- wags its tail,
- has his ears lowered and his lips stretched horizontally,
- makes a “nod” and invites you to play – arches its back, keeps the front of the body low to the ground, leaves the back legs straight.
A contented dog is relaxed and does not tense its muscles. If the joy is associated with excitement, the pet may start barking, jumping up and running.
With regard to dogs, it is difficult to speak of sadness in the sense in which humans understand this emotion. Instead, there is a lowering of mood caused by malaise, uncertainty, longing for a carer or other animal, stress, anxiety – each of these feelings is signalled in slightly different ways through body language. However, some dog behaviours are common to all states that can be described as ‘sadness’ and these are:
- lowered posture,
- apathy and lying down,
- turning the head away, avoiding looking into the eyes.
Fear is one of the most clearly signalled emotions among animals because it is very important in terms of survival. There is nothing difficult about understanding a dog that:
- tucks his tail between his legs,
- has his eyes wide open (so that the whites are visible),
- yawns nervously and licks frequently,
- trembles and has tense muscles.
These signs indicate that the animal is stressed, frightened and ready to run away or, if that is not possible, to attack.
Observation – the key to understanding your dog’s behaviour
The basis for understanding any dog’s body language is careful observation and catching even the subtlest signs of anxiety, aggression, fear and excitement. Pet guardians often take an unreflective approach to the behaviour displayed by their dogs. And, after all, not every tail wagging has to mean joy! Careful observation should be based primarily on finding small differences in the posture, muscle tone, gaze or muzzle expression of the pet.
It is worth strengthening the relationship with your mentee
Building a relationship is the basis of living together with any pet – but for this, communication is essential, which is impossible without knowing the dog’s body language and carefully observing its behaviour. Rexproduct is a brand that puts the welfare and comfort of animals first. We really know a lot about them and want to share this knowledge with you. Visit our blog – you will find lots of information not only about the dog beds and accessories we produce, but also about how to understand your pet better!