February 16, 2022

Do Dogs Have a Secret Language?

Ever wondered – do dogs have a secret language? Research has shown that dogs have rich social intelligence. They also have strong physical and vocal language. Their secret language is subtle and complex but effective in communicating what they want us to know.

Body Language

Ask any dog owner, and they will tell you that dogs speak volumes through their bodies. Let’s look at some common signs dogs usually use if they want to tell us something. Dogs are great at expressing themselves. They use their body language to exhibit emotion and expression.

  • Facial expressions

When dogs are confused or determined, they straighten their foreheads or wrinkle them. At times, they also tilt their head on one side to show confusion. Dogs also tend to smile when they are happy. They often smile when they get belly rubs.

  • Bright Eyes

If dogs are reunited with their owners or are excited to meet someone new, their eyes brighten. When a dog is afraid, its pupils dilate, and the whites of its eyes are visible.

  • Tongue, lips, and teeth

At times, if a dog is happy or eager to play, it may pull back its lips and show its teeth. This can be interpreted as a smile. But this is common only in dog-to-human communication. A dog may not do this with other dogs.

  • Positioning Their Ears

When a dog puts its ears down, it’s a sign of showing submission. When a dog’s ears are perked up high, it shows the dog is listening or is attentive. When a dog is relaxed, it will hold its ears normally. If a dog is feeling aggressive, the ears will be up and forward. If your dog’s ears are pulled back slightly, the dog can be indicating friendliness. If its ears are completely flattened or stuck to the sides of its head, it can also mean that the dog is frightened.

  • Tail Wagging

Experts say when dogs wag their tails towards the left, it indicates negative feelings. When they wag their tail towards the right, it shows feelings of positivity. The height of a dog’s tail is also indicative of its feelings. A horizontal tail signals the pup is paying attention. When a dog is relaxed, its tail will be at medium height. When a dog is fearful or being submissive, it may tuck its tail under its body. A vertical tail can be a signal the dog sees you as a potential threat. The speed at which a dog wags its tail also shows its level of excitement. If your dog is wagging its tail broadly, it can imply pleasure and happiness. If it’s a slight wag, you can see it as the dog greeting you. If a dog is wagging its tail slowly, it can denote fear or insecurity.

How Do Dogs Communicate with Each Other?

Dogs are highly social animals and share a universal language of communication with other dogs. Some of these communication techniques include:

  • The Play Bow

This usually signals ‘let’s play’ amongst dogs. But sometimes, the play bow can also be a sign of an apology if things get too rough.

  • The Paw Slap

The Paw Slap or the ‘Paw-five’ is when a dog pats another dog with its paw. This is indicative of trust between both dogs.

  • Biting

Biting is also a sign of playfulness. But a dog will always take care to avoid biting its buddy’s sensitive parts.

  • Rearing its Hind Leg

When a dog rears its hind leg, it can be viewed as a sign of affection. When they do this while playing, at times, it can look like they are dancing.

As dog owners, it’s part of our job to learn to listen and communicate with our dogs efficiently. This helps read signs our dogs are giving us and to cater to their needs and requirements. Our pet canines are constantly sending us signals and looking for directions. You may notice how your dog licks its lips when trying to get closer to you or another dog. Do you also notice how your dog might sometimes simply stare at you? This can be because they might want an update of what everyone is up to or if you want them to do something.

Sometimes, dog owners also end up misreading the signs and signals their dog is sending them. This can be problematic and can also lead to aggression and behavioral issues in dogs. You can avoid this from happening by picking up on signals of communication your dog is giving out. Reading your dog’s body language helps us understand what our dogs want. It gives us an insight into their feelings. Dogs use their eyes, tail, ears, and face to show us how they feel and what they want. Dogs experience emotions just like humans do. They also pick up on the emotions others around them feel. If your dog is not feeling well, it may look like it’s squinting with its eyes. At times, dogs also avert their gaze when you look at them. This can be an indication your dog is unhappy about something.

When it comes to the question, do dogs have a secret language? The answer is yes. Dogs use this subtle, implicit language comprising of barking and bodily signals to communicate with humans and with other dogs. It’s your job to work on improving your understanding of the signals your dog is giving you. This will result in a tighter bond between you and your pooch.

by Bobby J Davidson

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