The importance of understanding your dog
Dog owners know how important communication is with their pets. If you're unable to read your dog's body language, you may be missing critical information that impacts the health and well-being of your animal. Learning about your dog's different body postures can help you determine what type of information is being sent to you from each creature. In addition to better understanding your pet, understanding a few fundamental postures will help ease anxiety surrounding doggie safety issues, such as being attacked by other dogs or navigating obstacles in the park or backyard.
Key principles for achieving good dog communication include:
Paying Attention to Behavior and Body Postures
- When you notice your dog exhibiting agitated body movements, such as stiff legs or tucking the tail between his back legs, it is time to protect him and move him to a different environment.
- If your dog is showing interest in something by moving closer or raising his head to pinpoint what is interesting to him but then adopts a threatening body posture like tucked tail and turning away from the object of interest, it may be time for you to offer comfort or protection from potential danger.
- If your dog is tucking his tail between his back legs, leaning forward, or spinning in circles, it could mean that he is missing parts of his family and is lonely, angry, or unsure of something. The behavior may also be a sign that he is afraid.
- If your dog starts shaking and moving his body against fences or woodwork for no apparent reason, it can mean he's suffering from separation anxiety or coping with separation from you at the veterinary clinic. You may have to leave him with a trusted staff member and return as quickly as possible.
- If your dog is taking unusually long in the bathroom but has no accidents, it could be because he is preoccupied with something triggering anxiety.
Communicating with your Dog
- If you're walking through the park with your dog and your dog is looking anxiously in every direction, it may be time to teach him how to bark and tell you if there are any safety or security issues. In addition, it can mean that he's uneasy about being around other dogs or being approached by a strange person.
- If your dog shows signs of wanting to get home or indicating that he's lost or left, it may be time to take him back if you don't have a collar or harness.
- If your dog growls, snaps at, or bites in response to things he shouldn't, it may mean he has an unknown fear causing aggression and possibly hyperactive behavior. You can use the techniques mentioned above to help him understand his fear better and how to respond positively when his body tells him that something is wrong.
- If your dog is peeing on things like the fence, the couch, and room corner, it could mean that he is marking his territory or just anxious about his environment and how he fits into it.
- If your dog shows signs of fear or is afraid of something, it may be time to give him a home environment with fewer triggers for anxiety and fear. A better understanding of your pet can help you determine when something is bothering him, which will lead to more confidence for you in dealing with new situations together. You can also use this information to teach him acceptable behavior and what isn't.
To improve your dog's communication proficiency, pay attention to how he moves his body and how he communicates with you. He will help you understand your environment better and help you recognize and solve some of the problems or concerns that affect you both.