Doggie Communication 101

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Doggie Communication 101

Ever catch yourself feeling silly for talking to your dog when they can't talk back? We've all been there, but wouldn't it be amazing if they could talk back? Well, they actually can! Your dog tries communicating with you every day and understanding what they're saying can make your bond even stronger.

The Importance of Dog Talk

Just like humans, dogs experience physical and emotional problems that can impact their health. Understanding how dogs communicate with humans is essential to helping them out when they're suffering and for learning what makes them happiest. Plus, since communication is the key to all relationships, understanding doggie communication will have you and your dog feeling closer than ever.

To help you understand dog talk better, we've got some of the most common forms of doggie communication and what they mean for you, right here.

Head Tilt

dog head tilt

The adorable look your dog gives you as they tilt their head is more than just being cute. A head tilt is your dog's way of letting you know they're trying to understand you better.

Through head tilting, dogs can pick up on more auditory information, and it can help them tune in to familiar verbal cues. Head tilting can also help them focus on your tone and figure out how you're feeling.

Staring

dog staring

We'd all love to think that our dogs stare at us because of how much they love us, and while this might sometimes be true, staring usually means they want something. They could want anything from a bite of your tasty snack to a walk. While staring is generally a good thing, it's important to remember that in an aggressive situation direct eye contact usually means a challenge.

Tail Positions

dog tail wagging

As you've probably noticed, dogs move their tails in many different ways, and for the most part, they all have different messages too.

A tall tail means your dog is feeling mighty confident. If your dog's tail is wagging along with their entire body that means excitement. Wagging without the rest of the body means anticipation and thinking. A relaxed tail means a calm dog and a tail tucked between the legs means that your dog is feeling scared.

These are just some of the many ways your dog talks with their tail!

Trashing the Place

dog trashing the house

Ever come home to a disaster in your living room when the only one home all day was your dog? While it's easy to get frustrated when this happens, especially if you've trained your dog, it's important to remember that it's not a ploy to annoy you.

Torn apart pillows, dug up carpet, chewed on slippers….these are all your dog's way of dealing with anxiety when no one is around.

Yawning

dog yawning

If you catch your dog yawning, you probably assume they're tired. While it might be time for a doggie nap, yawning is often a way for dogs to calm down. Yawning for a dog can be pretty similar to taking a deep breath for humans.

Panting

dog panting

Panting is how dogs cool down. But, if your dog is panting when there's no physical activity or warm temperatures involved, this can be a sign of anxiety, excitement, or even illness. Showing your dog a little love when they're panting anxiously is usually all they need to calm down. But, if panting is paired with other symptoms it might be time to visit the vet.

Verbal Communication

dog howling

Dogs communicate with us frequently through body language, but they also communicate verbally.

Howling might signal loneliness, that your dog wants attention, or that they're not feeling the best. Growling can mean disapproval or be a warning signal. Multiple rapid barks is usually an alarm, but when your dog barks once it's generally just a way of saying "hey!".

Happier Dog, Happier You

Understanding how your dog communicates will lead to a happier dog and a happier you too. Now you've got what it takes to communicate with your dog and are well on your way to mastering dog talk!

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  • Dana S
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