“My dog’s feelings are hurt” or “My dog is mad at me” are a couple of the many phrases I often hear my clients tell me. Ever wonder what your dog is telling you?
Dogs communicate mostly with body language signals.
Learning to interpret these signals is incredibly helpful in mastering the art of communication with your beloved pup and can ultimately lead to a more fulfilling, harmonious relationship.
Why is it that people tend to humanize their dogs, otherwise known as Anthropomorphism? They assign their dogs human emotions believing that their dogs feel a certain way. In so doing, they are actually telling their dogs that they are equal to them. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, dogs interpret information very differently. For example, a dog who is being soothed while shaking in fear, is actually being told to keep being fearful! Rather, share affection or attention with your dogs when you want to nurture or reinforce a state of mind or behavior.
Dogs and humans are completely different animals! Humans spend most of their time in the emotional and intellectual world and some of their time in the spiritual and instinctual worlds. Dogs live 100% fully in the instinctual state, thus, they are fully reactive beings and do not plan out their behavior in advance.
Learning how to understand what your dog is telling you comes with understanding what their body language is demonstrating. Oftentimes, these signals come in clusters of body language. For example, simple lip-licking can mean I just enjoyed a cool drink or it can be a submissive gesture that gets adult dogs to turn off aggression. However, lip-licking in conjunction with a paw up can mean this pup is feeling a little uncertain.
Do you want to learn how to ‘speak dog’ and communicate better with your furry partner? If so, you will more accurately understand what your pup is really trying to tell you!
Check out Brenda Aloff’s book Canine Body Language – A Photographic Guide and Turid Rugaas’s dvd Calming Signals: What Your Dog Tells You.