How Our Dogs Communicate With Us? The Most Common Gestures

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Learn to understand the body language your four-legged friend uses to communicate with you.

Do you feel that your dog has something to tell you? Perhaps through movements of its tail or eye movements. Don’t panic, you’re not crazy. Your pet really wants to communicate with you. In this article we will learn how to interpret our pet’s language in order to better understand its needs and requests for attention.

Facial Expressions

Those who own a dog know that sweet look, with the big, pleading eyes asking for a treat, or the frown after some disobedience. The gestures of your lovely furry friend melt your heart. Besides, they make you want to care for them and protect them for a lifetime.

Dogs communicate with people through facial expressions. They are really intelligent animals.

Although sometimes facial expressions are involuntary and arise as a response to some particular event, other expressions are a communicative response towards another individual of the same or different species.

Several studies indicate that the gestures of dogs changed as a consequence of domestication.

The Most Common Facial Expressions

These are some of the facial expressions that are frequently observed in dogs:

  • Stick out its tongue: Dog panting is a very common behaviour. It is often seen when your dog is cooling down on a hot day or after an exciting play session. However, excessive panting in dogs can be also a sign of underlying and emotional conditions, such as stress, anxiety, fear, pain or disease processes.
  • Frown: In general, it is a look that anticipates the arrival of a reprimand for having performed wrongdoing.
  • Bright eyes: Your dog invites you to pet it when it opens its eyes wide and arches its brow outward. This gesture is said to be a mimic of the baby’s gaze.
  • Smile: There is a muscle between the eyelids and ears that forms a smile when your dog opens its mouth. This does not really have a meaning in the canine language, but it is recognized as indicative of enthusiasm. Besides, it is extremely adorable.

Body Language

As mentioned above, dogs learned to perform certain rituals to request attention from their owners. For example:

  • Ask For Food or Water: In order to request for food, some dogs do soft movements with their head pointing to a specific place, they sit on the hind legs and raise the front legs or throw an object. Some more skillful dogs run the dish with its muzzle or drag it to make a noise that attracts attention.
  • Ask For Petting: This request for physical contact may be expressed in the following ways: your pet may roll on the floor, press its nose or face against its owner’s body, raise a paw and touch a person, gently nibble on its human’s arm, rub its head against an object or piece of furniture.
  • Ask to open the door to go play or go for a walk: When your pet wants to go for a walk it is more excited and insistent than usual, in this case it may: jump frantically, scratch at the door, or move their paws in an uncontrolled manner.

Tail Language

Your four-legged friend’s tail has a lot to tell you. The position of a dog’s tail can communicate information about what that dog is thinking and feeling. According to the position of its tail, we can know if our friend is attentive, happy, scared, or calm. But dogs not only communicate with us through their tails, but also with other dogs.

The primary function of the dog’s tail is to show other animals or humans that it is sensing. Its tails is definitely a means of socializing. In general, the type of movement and position of the tail will reveal the degree of the animal’s excitement.

  • Horizontal and Relaxed: If your dog’s tail is still and in a horizontal or near horizontal position, it means that they are paying attention to what’s going on around them, like an object or situation.
  • Horizontal and Stiff: This position looks similar to the previous one. However, the difference is that the tail is stiff and still. When this position happens, your dog is taking a very cautious approach. You’ll see this tail position whenever your dog is meeting a new canine.
  • High Carriage and Tilted Upwards: If your dog’s tail is raised up but not quite standing mast, it shows that they are feeling dominant and confident in their surroundings.
  • High and Curled Over The Back: When the tail curls slightly over the back, your dog is feeling super confident in their position.
  • Down and Out: A lowered tail that’s stretched away from the hind legs means that your dog is relaxed and comfortable. This is generally the most common tail position in dogs.
  • Positioned Low Against the Hind Legs: The downward positions simply means that they are feeling submissive.
  • Tucked Between Their Legs: This means that your dog is scared.
  • Side-to-side tail wagging movements: These movements are a way of greeting humans or other dogs.
  • Tail movements in circles: This means happiness.

Remember that not every time your dog wags its tail means that it is happy. For example: Energetic movements are a demonstration of joy, while softer ones denote attention from the dog.

Now that you know the general aspects of dog language, you will be able to understand your pet in a simpler way and create an exceptional bond with your best friend!

If you have more questions, you can consult a professional near your home, who will give it good care and answer all your questions.