Ever wondered how dogs communicate? Your dog is able to tell you his feelings. He has the ability to tell you whether he is happy, sad, bored, excited, disgusted, puzzled, confident, uneasy or frightened. If only you listen.
The inconspicuous and almost continuous movements of his eyes, ears, body and tail are his emotional body language and his primary means of communication. Researchers found that animals are attuned to an extremely subtle and refined system of communication. They are not limited in their means of expression,
What Do Dogs Communicate?
The wild dogs of Africa studied by Jane Goodall and wolves observed by Dr. Michael W. Fox, a recognized authority on canine body language, communicated to each other a wide range of attitudes, including anger, dominance, submission, joy, interest, disgust, dismay, affection and fear – using only the slightest body movements.
Domesticated dogs have lost some sensitivity to this language in their dealings with humans. However, they still use most of these instinctive, inherited forms of communication. With practice, a sensitive observer with a keen eye can learn to read dog communication body language.
Over time, he becomes more skilled at identifying subtle changes of mood in his pet. His communication and companionship with his dog will grow deeper and more pleasurable.
How Dogs Communicate
Veterinarians with long experience often read canine body language well, noticing the smallest nuances. Dr. Theodore Stanton, a veterinarian with more than forty years of experience, has become an expert at it. He frequently acts as interpreter for his patients. When their owners bring them in for treatment, they sometimes asked him why their dog is doing certain peculiar things.
“Among Dogs, as among most animals, a hierarchy exists in every group,” says Dr. Stanton.
He goes on to say, “From the most dominant ‘top dog’ to the lowest ‘under dog’, each dog works out with each other in the group which of them will be dominant and which will be submissive. Much of a dog’s body language is used in the context of establishing these dominant-submissive relationships with other dogs and also with people.”
A dog uses every part of his body in some way to express his feelings and intentions. The appendage he uses most conspicuously and expressively is his tail. This is how dogs communicate.
“You can tell everything by a dog’s tail,” explains Dr Stanton. “He holds it up when he is alert and is expecting something. If he has met a strange dog or heard an unusual sound, it quivers a little. He is saying, ‘I’m ready for danger; I’m ready for anything!”
The Doctor finishes with, “A tail held very high – almost vertically – or arched over his back says he feels aggressive and dominant, and intends to do something about it if necessary. The dog with his tail tucked tightly between his hind legs is saying, ‘I’m scared, and I’m getting out of here!'”