How Dogs Communicate with Each Other?
If you are like millions of people and own a dog, you know exactly why dogs are known as "man's best friend." However, what you probably didn't know is that dogs also have a secret language used among themselves that few humans understand. From barks and wagging tails to how their eyes and ears are positioned, the question of doing dogs talk to other dogs revolves around these and many other factors. If you're up to the challenge of deciphering what your dog is trying to tell you and other dogs around them, here are some tips to help you better understand how dogs communicate with each other.
How Dogs Communicate
Just as it is when you are trying to learn a foreign language, you'll need to apply those same learning techniques to help you figure out the many ways dogs communicate about various things. In many ways, dogs and humans share many of the same basic communication methods. Using combinations of vocalisations, body language, and scents, dogs can relay many different types of messages to other dogs. Also as it is with humans, dogs are very social creatures that live in close proximity to one another, so it's important they have a language that allows them to get along with each other. In fact, dog language is often a critical component of conflict resolution, helping to keep the peace by utilising certain calming signals.
Major Methods of Dog Communication
As for how dogs communicate with one another, there are four major areas, which are visual, auditory, olfactory (smell), and tactile (touch). Yet within these areas, there are numerous subtle differences that can convey entirely different meanings to other dogs. Because of this, let's examine these four methods in a bit more detail.
Just as it is said a person's eyes are the windows to their soul, it is often that way with dogs as well. For example, if a dog's eyes get big and bright when looking at another dog, it is a sign the other dog is considered to be a friend. However, if your dog's pupils dilate and the whites of its eyes are clearly visible, this is a sign of fear. But beware, for if a dog's eyes are fixed and staring forward, this could be a sign they are trying to intimidate another dog and maybe prepping themselves for a fight.
As for sound, dogs rely on it since it can carry long distances. Thus, dogs tend to listen for howls, yips, and barks of various tones to indicate such things as danger or excitement about something good happening. However, since barks can also alert potential enemies, yips and howls tend to be used more when communication needs to be discrete.
Unlike humans, dogs have a sense of smell that is virtually unmatched. Because of this, smell plays a big part in how dogs communicate with each other and understand what is going on around them. For example, when a dog is fearful, anal glands may express and leave a lingering odour. Also, when dogs urinate or defecate, their scent is also left behind to let other dogs know of their presence.
As for how touch plays a role in dog communication, pay attention to how much it resembles human interaction. If you look closely, you'll notice dogs often do what is called a paw slap, which is similar to a human high-five or pat on the back. When used, this indicates the dog trusts the other dog. Also, when dogs are playfully biting at one another, it's also a signal all is well and that they are among friends.
What is a Dog's Body Language?
Just like humans where body language makes up over 90 per cent of the message we are sending to others, a dog's body language is its primary form of communication. Though we tend to think our talk and a dog's barking are the primary forms of communication, this is all wrong. All dogs, no matter their breed, use a combination of body language that includes their eyes, ears, tail, face, and mouth to show other dogs what's going through their mind at that moment.
Your dog's face will tell you many things. If you see teeth clenched, this points to anxiety, while teeth showing can mean anger. However, an open mouth and soft eyes show your dog is relaxed and happy.
Many times, a dog's movements are associated with trustfulness and play. One of the most common ways is when your dog is standing up on its hind legs, which is signalling affection to other dogs. Likewise, if you see your dog doing a play bow, interpret this as a sign the dog wants to play or is apologising for playing a bit too rough.
If a dog is hanging its head, this means depression or submission. However, a dog that is holding its head high is very interested in what's around them. As for a show of dominance, this occurs when one dog is resting its head on another dog's back.
While you may think a bark is a bark, studies have shown dogs actually use thousands of different barks with varying volume and pitch, which indicates their level of emotion. More about a dog and its many barks can be found at www.dogways.info/how-dogs-communicate.
How Do You Read a Dog's Body Language?
To read a dog's body language, you study them just as you would any human. Once you are around a dog for a while, you will start to pick up on subtle cues that mean they want to play, are eager to be fed, or maybe afraid of something.
Since dogs are always communicating in one way or another, make it your mission to learn what your dog is trying to say. By visiting www.akc.org/expert-advice/advice/how-to-read-dog-body-language/ and paying attention to your dog's eyes, ears, barks, and yips, you'll become a canine communications expert before you know it.
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