Canine language

Do you know the canine's language?

The importance of learning to speak dog

Dogs speak with their facial expressions, with their body and their tail, but do we listen? Is a wagging tail always a sign of happiness? Learn to recognize signs of stress to reduce your dog’s anxiety, prevent biting, and encourage good behaviour.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR DOG’S LANGUAGE

Averted gaze, ears pinned flat back, licking their chops, excessive pacing, refusing treats, etc. Learn to recognize signs of stress in your furry companion.

To facilitate discussions and help you to share this information with your friends and family, we also developed a printable poster explaining your pet’s non-verbal cues.

HOW DO DOGS CONVEY THEIR STRESS LEVEL?

Dogs say a lot with their body language:

  • Eyes: When they are uncomfortable, they look away, which makes the white of the eye to show.
  • Ears: Will be lowered and cocked to the side in times of stress.
  • Posture: When they feel stressed, dogs will slink down and look stiff.
  • Tail: When the dog’s tail is low and tucked between the legs and on the tummy, it is an obvious sign of discomfort

ARE THERE OTHER BEHAVIOURS DISPLAYED BY DOGS IN TIMES OF STRESS?

As the level of stress increases, cats will adopt even more explicit behaviours. For example, someone that your dog finds scary walks by. The dog will prefer to walk away or back off. He could walk carefully or start pacing excessively. He will most likely lick his chops or yawn. It could be subtle but you should see it if you pay attention. He could even start shaking.

If he chooses or is forced to fight—for a bone, for instance—he will growl and show some teeth. If we keep pushing and force him to retreat, he may bite. Even if it is an aggressive behaviour, it can also be part of a dog’s normal communication process. It is very important to pay extra attention to the various signs of stress when interacting with a dog and to adjust our actions accordingly to limit the risks of biting.

IS A WAGGING TAIL ALWAYS A SIGN OF HAPPINESS?

Unfortunately, no. A wagging tail usually means a willingness to interact. To assess if the interaction is meant to be pleasant or not, we have to look at the context and learn to trust the rest of the dog’s body language.

WHY SHOULD I RECOGNIZE THE SUBTLE AND EARLY SIGNS OF STRESS?

  • Act quickly and attempt to change the situation and the pet’s emotional state.
  • Remove your pet from the situation should the signs of stress persist.
  • Prevent the situation from worsening, which could lead to your dog biting.
  • Act as a good facilitator for your four-legged companion and guide any interactions with unfamiliar people.

WHAT DO I DO WHEN I RECOGNIZE SIGNS OF STRESS IN MY DOG?

Once you recognize the signs, try to ascertain the triggers, and limit your pet’s exposure to them until you can determine the best way to manage the issue. Of course, we recommend talking about it with your team of veterinarians.

If you have children, safety is crucial. We recommend working with them to teach them how to interact with dogs and avoid getting bitten.

Acting like a good pet parent is crucial not only to your cat’s physical but also psychological and mental health. To that end, Passionimo developed a few tools to help you to establish how your companion is adapting to your activities. You can navigate through our articles to find many useful tips and quick tests, to understand your canine better.

Have more questions?

Please do not hesitate to contact the Passionimo veterinary clinic near you.

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