BODY LANGUAGE OF DOGS
Dogs have a very different and extraordinary way of communicating with the world which makes it essential to understand dog body language. While dog behaviour is largely non-verbal, they do use sounds to convey certain messages. For example, barking, howling and whining are how your dog would commonly communicate with you. However, having a well-rounded knowledge of canine behavior on the whole and not just bits and pieces of it is very important while dealing with dogs.
Dogs rely on non-verbal communication for the most part which includes tail wagging, facial expressions, posture and more. When your dog wags their tail, it doesn’t always mean that they are happy and cheerful. One of the most misconstrued forms of non-verbal canine body language, tail wagging essentially means that the dog is in a state of heightened emotion. This could mean that your dog is excited, frustrated, or angry. A faster wag means a higher state of emotional arousal. When your dog greets you with a long and slow side-to-side tail wag, they are telling you that they are relaxed and happy to see you. When your dog wags their tail more to the right, they are experiencing a more positive emotion, as opposed to when it is more to the left, which happens when they are in a negative or unpleasant situation. Referred to as the helicopter tail wag, your dog wags their tail in a full circle when they are in a very happy mood.
Your dog’s posture can also tell you a lot about what they are feeling. When your pet is crouching or cowering, it means that they are frightened or stressed about something or someone that is intimidating them. On the other hand, when they are leaning forward to look at something or someone, it means that they are curious and interested. When your dog’s hackles are raised, it means that they are aroused. It could mean that they are stressed, excited or genuinely curious about something. Dogs make use of facial expressions as well, but they use them in a different way. For example, a yawning dog is not exactly sleepy but is trying to calm themselves and others when in a stressful situation. Like cats, licking behavior in dogs can also mean that they are stressed or anxious about something.
When your dog bears their teeth, it means that they are warning you of what they are capable of doing with it. However, they show their teeth when they smile as well, but they mean no harm and only that they are in a happy mood.