Without words, the dog has its own way of communicating with you. This ability to communicate with humans makes it more social and companionable than ever. You still have to understand your dog’s language. We help you to decipher it.
He whispers, barks, growls, raises his tailor lowers it, gives his leg… All these gestures have a very specific meaning for your dog. You must understand them to adapt to his request, to his needs.
The different behaviours of the dog
Leaning forward, your dog’s ears mean he is rather attentive. The more they lean forward, the more reassured and confident your dog is. He feels confident or in a situation he can control. It can also be a sign of aggressiveness, of a challenge. If he comes out with his fangs, be careful, he might be about to take action.
Give the leg, raise it up
By lifting the leg up and holding it out to you, your dog asks for your attention. It may be asking for food, or simply playing.
The spiky hair
Your dog may feel a threat. So it’s a sign of fear. On the other hand, he can also put himself in a position of domination as well. It is a warning to the individual in front of him or another dog. A bristly coat is often accompanied by a straightened head, growls and sometimes a sideways posture, all in an effort to impress.
Getting on your back
When your dog gets on his back, several meanings are possible:
If he also stretches his legs, it is a sign of submission. This is sometimes noticed when two dogs meet or play together. One of them can submit to the other.
Your dog did something stupid. He knows he might get scolded. He will, therefore, put himself in this position in anticipation. It’s a sign of submission and you shouldn’t punish him.
A refusal to obey you.
A gesture of fulfilment. Your dog is happy and decides to show it by rolling on his back.
Shake the tail
“He wags his tail because he’s happy. “Don’t get me wrong, this statement is meant to be false. If your dog wags his tail, it can have several meanings:
Your dog is afraid, worried and out of control. It means fear. Its tail will tend to lower between its hind legs.
If your dog’s tail is high, he shows his superiority, his domination.
Your dog is spreading its scent. In that case, the tail will swing.
The amplitude of the swing of your dog’s tail will also determine his emotional state. This will allow you to define his excitement or relative calm. This swing can be explained by the meaning of anxiety, stress or simply your dog’s friendship.
For example, in front of you, swinging your dog’s tail can mean the joy of seeing you – the tail then swings from left to right very freely – like the fear of your stature – in this case, the tail is carried low and the swing of small amplitude.
Lick is a gesture learned from an early age. The mother will lick her puppy to show her affection. Lick more or less gently with the puppies, for example after the headache, the bitch licks the puppies’ bellies vigorously to facilitate transit and the release of stool. For his part, the puppy will lick his mother’s snout to indicate that he is hungry.
Your dog can lick a congener to show his social connection. In a pack, a dog licks another dog to show his submission. In the street, dogs can lick themselves as a sign of appeasement. He can also lick another dog to show his affection.
Your dog can also come and lick your face when he feels stressed, anxious. He wants to comfort you, to help you. Moreover, this condition can be a sign of licking everywhere on your body: hands, legs, arms… It is still important to note that licking the face can be the cause of disease transmission – so be careful.
He sniffs out private parts
This mode of communication is unique to them. Your dog needs to know who he’s dealing with. Their nose can recognize thousands of smells. By sniffing another dog’s private parts, yours detects the pheromones emitted by the anal glands; there are two of them on either side of the anus.
Pheromones are chemical substances that the body secretes, they have no smell as such, they do not diffuse a smell of fruit or flowers for example; on the other hand, they diffuse messages that only other animals of the same species can decrypt. Thanks to pheromones, a dog will be able to know if its congener is in heat, for example.
During the first contact, it is important to let the 2 dogs in question sniff each other’s body parts. The information exchanged is extensive and will facilitate their relationship in the future. On the other hand, if they cannot sniff each other long enough, then the lack of olfactory exploration could lead to aggressive behaviour.
Simulate the sexual act
One of the marks of domination is the simulation of the sexual act. This simulacrum only very rarely has a sexual meaning. In fact, many puppies execute him while they are still sexually immature. Made in public, this brand is very meaningful – among wolves, only the dominant ones have the right to romp around in front of everyone. It is therefore important not to let your dog door interrupt this behaviour when he shows it.
It’s a warning sign. An uneasiness settles in and his counterpart, dog or human, must stay away. Your dog can growl for many reasons: he delimits his territory and forbids the other to enter it, he has taken possession of a toy or his bowl and sees in the other a threat, he growls to express pain.
The dog does not growl for the purpose of dominating, but simply to warn for multiple causes. As a handler, you must try to understand the discomfort expressed by your dog. You need to stop all activity with him, step back and think about your dog’s ailments. You can call on a behaviourist. If the warning does not seem to be understood, the dog may get even angrier and potentially aggressive – be careful. A growl expresses fear, fear, misunderstanding or even pain.
Like barking, it is a means of expression for your dog. Moaning comes from multiple factors such as stress, boredom, loneliness, excitement or frustration. Your dog moans to get your attention. This is a distress signal to be taken seriously. We must try to identify the origin of this complaint.
A moan can also be a sign of pain in your dog. If you touch him and he moans, then you must not be far from where he is suffering. Take him to your veterinarian.
Your dog may howl like a wolf. It is above all a means of communication, even if dogs, domesticated, only use this means occasionally. Indeed, you bring him everything your dog needs. Some breeds, such as the Husky, the Beagle or the Cocker, are more inclined to scream than others. Like the wolf, a howl can be a sign of a willingness to talk with fellow humans (a bit like a phone call) or to express distress.
This is probably your dog’s preferred method of communication. Barking has several meanings depending on its tone and frequency.
Excitement and joy correspond to a higher bark.
If your dog threatens or is aggressive, then he will use a more muffled bark to intimidate.
Your dog can bark because he’s bored.
You have taught your dog to bark under certain conditions. If he meets them, then he’ll bark by conditioning.
Frustration can lead to several successive barks.
As a general rule, your dog barks for attention. It is a way, also to respond to another dog and thus to create a social bond. It may also be about indicating a problem. The goal is always the same, to communicate.
Your dog’s postures and their meaning
Your dog’s tail is taut and parallel to the ground. She’s shaking more than she’s moving. Your dog relies mainly on his front legs. His hairs are rising and his ears are forward. His whisker pads are rolled up, he shows his fangs and can growl.
Stressed, worried behaviour
Your dog’s tail is rather low. His body is lowered overall and his ears are backwards. Your dog’s paws sweat and he pant and can moan.
Fearful and aggressive behaviour
Its tail is lowered between its 2 hind legs. Its hair is raised and its fangs are visible. The ears stay back. Your dog may be aggressive out of fear and bite.
The tail is low and seems relaxed. Your dog’s head is high, his mouth lets his tongue out and his eyes will want to be friendly.