A Look is Worth a Thousand Words!
Dogs do indeed have their own language. The body expression appears to be the main method of communication for animals that cannot form words. My dogs speak to each other without a bark. Recently, I have noticed Bojangles will get a look of fear in his face and run out of the room from a simple expression from Sir. Duke. When I observed Sir. Duke after Bojangles has left the room, his expression appears to say, "you are not allowed in here, get out!" when looking in Bojangels direction. So, I became curious what research had to say about how dogs communicate.
Throughout my life I have always had a dog. I noticed that dogs do communicate mainly through body cues, facial expressions and some sounds. Dogs will use barking as communications if needed out of frustrating or ignored. When I take the time to observe in general a dog, the dogs happiness, sadness, and excitements can be clearly seen with great details. Let's take a closer look at what research has revealed about dog communication.
I discovered several interesting aspects about dogs I suspected was natural. According to research, dogs study eye movement to understand what people are thinking or action they might take ("Chapter 2: Ways We Communicate With Our Dogs: Body Language." pg.84.). This research finding does not surprise me, my dogs are the first to know when I am not feeling well or what mood I am in. Also, as I understand my dogs individually, I too pick up lots of needed information about my dogs and the moods the dogs are in through eye movement. I have noticed the more I know Sir. Duke on a individual level, I am able to predict what Sir. Duke will do next or how he feels by watching his eye movement and facial expressions. So, I got even more curious. I wonder what communication tools do my dogs utilize.
Through research, I discovered one of the major communication tools is the dogs' tail. According to research the tail gives away what a dog is thinking or feeling (Hall, Elizabeth Armstrong). Such as, a tail tuck into the dogs' body between the legs is a sign of a scared dog and a lose wagging tail in a natural position is a happy dog. I have noticed my dogs' tail movements depends on the dogs' mood. For example, I notice the Bullies tails go around in a circle fast is when they are extremely excited or happy. Also, I have seen the Bullies tails swing back and forth in a hard manner to get my attention. My Bullies sometimes give me a love pat with their tails as well. I can tell when my dogs are serious and are warning me when the tail is stiff and pointing straight out. The same as mankind, communication for dogs starts with the body and speaks louder than words. The dog will expand communication with sounds as needed.
As I learn more what the experts has reported on dog communication, I observed my dogs communicate with what they need, such as a bark, grunt or facial expression. According to Pang, Evelyn, and Hilary Louie. "Chapter 1: What Is Your Dog Trying To Tell You?." the position of the eye, the direction of the tail can indicate what mood a dog is in, such as playful or angry. I agree, especially in Bullies the main indicators of a Bully's mood can be identified by the eye, facial, body muscle, and tail. Some aspect of communication can have muliple meanings, such as sounds. So, checking the mood of the dog can indentfied what a sound may mean or what purpose the dog has for the sound.
A growl is typically viewed as a unwanted, hostle form of cummincation. However, a growl for a dog can have a few meanings and purpose. For example, a growl can be a warning to stay away as well as a request to move. Sir. Duke will ask another dog to move by grunting out a growl, if sitting in front of the dog silently pushing his chest at them does not get the dog to move first. So, understanding all the body and facial cues are important to understanding the meaning of sounds that dogs can produce, espcially for growl sounds.
Understanding the basic body language of a dog is a great tool to have for all dogs. After raising different dogs over the years, I have realized each dog is unique. The secret to communication that reaches beyond the basic is getting to know the dog. Also, love, a strong bond, and clear communication are achieved only through understanding the dog individually. Dogs do indeed have a basic pattern, yet the same as all life some communication varies depending on the dog.
|Bojangles looking out the window.|
|Sir.Duke waiting to see if there is a cookie for him.|
|Sir. Duke ears are back, perhaps he is unsure and keeping his eye on the guy that is taking the picture. Bojangles ears are in a natural position, perhaps he is curious.|
Over the years, I have observed dogs displaying emotions in creative methods. For example, sometimes a dog will stare and hold eye contact to show love and affection. Also, leaning or touching is another method a dog shows support. The secret is remaining open to how your dog communicates and shows emotions.
Dogs have affections, empathy and communicate skills. Our four legged loved ones will reflect the love they receive. Take a minute and observe your pet. Our dogs are wiser and have more empathy than most people can understand. Our pets are well behaved and understand the rules as perfect as our communications is with them. The strength of the communication will depend on how well we observe the body language.
Taking the time to learn how your dog communicates is priceless and the rewards endless. I know my dogs learn as well as my communication skills. Also, interactions between two living creatures with two languages are a learned process that improves over time by trial and error. Old dogs do indeed learn new tricks, perhaps the secret is a matter of having someone being aware and taking the time to apperciate the old dog.
"Chapter 2: Ways We Communicate With Our Dogs: Body Language." How To Listen To Your Dog: The Complete Guide To Communicating With Man's Best Friend (2012): 83-88. Hobbies & Crafts Reference Center. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.
Hall, Elizabeth Armstrong. "How Dogs Talk: The Scoop From An Expert." Appleseeds 14.7 (2012): 14. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.
Pang, Evelyn, and Hilary Louie. "Chapter 1: What Is Your Dog Trying To Tell You?." Good Dog! Kids Teach Kids about Dog Behavior & Training. 9-31. n.p.: Dogwise Publishing, 2008. Hobbies & Crafts Reference Center. Web. 28 Mar. 2016