Welcome to the second part of “What Is My Dog Saying?” All too often we try to figure out what our dogs are trying tell us. Are they whining because they have a bellyache, toothache, or the blues? Or are they whining because they want another treat? While dog lovers have a tendency to understand dogs in ways other people cannot, there is now a plethora of information available on understanding your dog. Not only do we want to understand what our dog wants when they send us signals, dogs want to understand us. How can we, as dog lovers, communicate more effectively with our pet?
Has anyone ever told you that if you see an intimidating dog to keep your cool? If a dog senses that you are scared or nervous, the dog senses that fear. That is not a myth. Think of how you would feel if a baby looked at you and started crying. You would probably feel a bit awkward or confused, right? If a dog senses that you are uneasy in their presence, the dog may or may not act upon it. The dog may become anxious, frightened, or may become defensive. Just as we want to understand our dogs, there is body language that dogs look for in humans.
Believe it or not, several studies show that dogs respond more to our bodies than our voice. Crazy, right? I know that all of my baby talk works (because my dog wags her tail), but I didn’t know body language was even more significant that my doggie voice. When I read these studies I was surprised; But then I put two and two together and it made sense.
If you act shy and timid, dogs may feel uncomfortable looking at you as their leader. Our dog notices the way you communicate with others and will probably follow suit. For example; If you tend keep to yourself while your dog watches people communicating with others, there is a possibility your dog will have an issue with people approaching you. When I read this study I was not surprised. Why? I am a social butterfly when I take my basset hound for her daily walks. I talk to everybody who is willing to talk to me. No, I don’t run up to people, but if someone is walking their dog I make conversation (99.9% of the time about dogs). My basset hound follows suit. The moment she notices someone walking our way, her tail wags. If someone is walking our way and ignores the hound dog, she barks at them. I wonder if she is saying, “Excuse me? I’m right here!” I also recognize my not-so social neighbors have dogs that act just like they do. It’s wild, but true. If I try to approach a dog whose owner is a bit anti-social, the dog nearly hesitates when I try to communicate with him/her. If you are a private, “to yourself” person–think of your dog. A simple, “Hello” will do great things for your dog. Just because you may not be a “big talker”, every dog deserves some doggie posse time.
Off to another doggie trait–whining. If your pup is whining, it doesn’t neccisarily mean something is wrong. If you notice that your dog whines when you return home, your pup is either excited or– may be reprimanding you for leaving. Give your baby loads of love when you walk in the door and watch how the whining dissipates. Another fine whine–the door whine. The doggie whine at the door is almost definitley an indicator that the pup has to do “the business“. Always remember, dogs do not whine for the fun of it.
The more we try to understand our dogs and what their messages are, the better we can provide them with a more comfortable environment. Our dogs love us more than they love themselves so we owe it to them- to understand them. Our dogs make our lives better. Seeking knowledge in canine communication can make a world of difference for them–and us.