It can be strange to think about understanding your dog’s body language. However, it is important to understand that your dog communicates with more than just his bark! Learning what your dog means when it does certain things can be helpful no matter what training technique you choose to employ. Understanding your dog’s body language is one way of knowing its needs.
The first thing you should realize is that many dogs speak with their eyes. You can communicate a lot with your dog just with your eyes! This includes facial expressions, and you’ll be surprised as to how much information you can gain, and how much information you can transmit, just by using your eyes and making eye contact. As far as a dog is concerned, its eyes are the portals of what its brain wants to convey because it cannot express itself in spoken language.
The Importance of Eye-Contact
Do keep in mind that in certain situations this type of eye contact may be read as being hostile. This can lead to aggressive behavior — which in turn triggers other problems. This is one good reason why it is important to study as much about your dog’s body language (and how to use your own body language to communicate with your dog) as possible.
Realize that when dogs are in wild packs, they use body language to communicate with one another. Body language is the way leaders of dog packs impose their dominance. It is also the way subordinate dogs express submission to their alpha dog. Dogs try to communicate with you with body language as well. It is our fault as humans that we often do not recognize this, and the signals go ignored. Examples of signals might include yawning, sniffing, freezing, licking, turning their head, and other signals.
If you choose to recognize what these different signals mean, your relationship with your dog will be greatly enhanced. You’ll be able to communicate effectively and meet your dog’s needs and wants. Your dog might become frustrated if you cannot understand what its signals mean. This can slow-down your training progress. No matter what type of training you plan on doing, you need to be sure you know as much as possible about your dog’s body language, so that you can also communicate with your dog by using some body language of your own.
You need to pay attention to your own body language too. Do not act timid or out of control in any way because your dog can read this, and it might try and establish itself as the alpha. This can lead to clashes in interest, and can prevent you and your dog from having a close relationship.
Reading your dog’s body language is very helpful in understanding the dog itself. Yet it is surprising how only few dog owners actually know anything about it. By taking steps toward understanding body language, you’re well on your way to effectively communicating with your dog, and developing a long-lasting relationship.