Just because your dog can’t speak ‘human’ it doesn’t mean you can’t communicate. Your pooch may not be able to converse with you in your native tongue, but if you pay close attention, you can learn the subtle ways in which your dog communicates to you and even other dogs. Here’s what you need to know in order to learn to ‘speak dog’.
Non-verbal communication (body language)
One of your dog’s biggest means of communication with you is through the use of body language. Watch any dog and you’ll see common communication signals like tail wagging, jumping, and other forms of posturing. If the head, ears and wagging tail are in a relaxed and neutral position, a dog is likely relaxed and happy.
If a dog keeps his head low, lays the ears back, tenses up, and dips his tail between his legs, he’s ‘telling’ you that he’s uncomfortable with the situation. You may see this behaviour when you meet a dog for the first time. You may also see this when your dog encounters a more aggressive dog.
Your dog can also understand your body language. If you lower yourself to your dog’s height and pat the ground excitedly, your dog will see you as friendly and inviting. Stand up and remain still and calm, and you’re telling your dog that you are in charge.
Of course, most people know that dogs can vocalize quite well, especially if they are excited. Barks and growls convey different messages, depending on the situation. Growls and whimpers express fear and anxiety, while playful barking could be a display of excitement or anticipation.
With time and repetition, your dog will recognize some of your verbal commands, like sit and stay, but the training process works best when you incorporate body language with your verbal commands. Pay attention to the way you move and position yourself when you speak to your dog, and pay attention to his movements as he responds. You’ll be effectively ‘speaking dog’ in no time!
For more tips and advice on training and caring for your dog, visit Bark Busters today.