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Does your dog talk?

Dogs are one of the most intelligent animals among our domestic pets. They have the ability to communicate with us, other dogs and even other animals. They do this by using good old fashioned body language and different vocals expressions. The more visual signs are made with the help of body movements which can involving eyes, ears, eyebrows, head, mouth and tail. Different vocals include barks, howls, growls, whimpers and whines. Dogs’ gestures have a range of meanings depending on the situation. For instance, if a dog pants, it may not mean that the dog is feeling hot, it could also mean he or she is happy or anxious.

The more confident and higher ranked dogs hold their tails high. Dogs either have inclination towards submission or dominance in them. This is because the dogs are pack animals and social hierarchy is a key function to pack survival and performance – even if their pack is made up of humans and not other canines. Weaker dogs submit themselves to the stronger pack members and may lower their tail when they feel insecure. When the dogs fight for dominance, the fur on their tail stands up, this helps the dog to project and increased size and presence in front of their enemy.

When the dog is in a confused situation, it wags its tail slowly. They are in a process of figuring out whether they should accept the situation or not. More obviously, excited dogs wag their tails very fast. But did you know that if the hip moves along with the tail, it means the dog is ready for submission to a dog of higher rank?

When the dogs get aggressive they show their fangs. You don’t need to be Sherlock to work this out, but it’s important to be aware that if the teeth are visible, it may indicate that the dog is ready to bite or attack. They also show teeth when they smile and this is an indication of submissiveness. Observing the number of teeth on display can differentiate a smile. Smile reveals only the front teeth, but when the dog snarls, all his teeth and gums can be seen. Ears are good indication about the attention levels of the dog. When the ears are erect and forward facing, means the dog is concentrating. But when the dog fears something, it lays down its ears. Some dogs hold the ears in forward and horizontal direction when they are happy.

In majority of the cases, barking is a means to scare away strangers and to make the owner aware of an intruder. They also tend to bark while they are playing. They may also bark to convey emotions such as pleasure, fear, stress and suspicion. But how do you tell the difference? Well, when the dog is excited or is playing, the barks are sharp and short. When they are stressed out or anxious, they bark repeatedly in a high pitch tone. They also bark to communicate with other animals such as cat, deer, squirrel, fox and other dogs. But the sound of barking is different.

Growling is done to threaten or to show superiority. Dogs howl when they make long-range communication. A dog yawns when it is bored and needs to be left alone. It also yawns when it is sleepy, stressed out or confused. When the dog pants with a full open mouth, it is happy. When it pants with a slightly open mouth, it needs to be played with. Dogs lift one forelimb up, when it wants to play. It will stamp its front limbs when it is excited. They scratch objects they want. If the dog tilts it’s head in a particular direction, it means that it is trying to concentrate and recognize an unfamiliar sound.

If you are like us, you’ll love observing your dog and its many mannerisms. Who needs the telly on when you have a dog! For more reading, this is a good article from the RSPCA, or better still treat them to something natural and nice from the shop.