Understanding your dog’s body language is crucial in order to communicate with it. Dogs often use their posture, facial expression, and other body parts for communicating. Even though dogs often use verbal acts like barking, whining, and growling they still rely heavily on nonverbal body language. Given below are some tips on how to read your dog’s body language more accurately.
1) Tail Wagging- There has always been a misconception that whenever a dog wags its tail, it is happy. Whereas tail wagging just indicates that your dog is emotionally aroused, which can either be due to excitement or it could be a result of anxiety or frustration. The faster your dog wags its tail in a situation the more aroused it is. Try noticing the tail wag when your dog greets you when you return home; it is more of a slow sideways or circular wag, which are signs of a relaxed and happy dog. Whereas a faster wag is a sign of alertness or your dog suspects danger. Dogs tend to wag their tail more towards the right side when they are happy while wagging more towards the left can indicate something negative. The position of your dog’s tail concerning ground can also give away some major nonverbal cues; the higher the tail, the more confident your dog is, while a tail pointing downwards or tucked between the legs indicates stress or fear.
2) Posture- A dog’s posture can give vital signs about its mood and intention; hunching towards the ground is considered a sign of fear or stress; dogs hunch to make them look smaller and to convey that they are harmless. When a dog shifts its weight forward, it is trying to get closer to an object, which can simply indicate that the dog is interested; however certain additional signs like a twitching high-held tail can indicate aggressive intentions. When a dog rolls onto its back, exposing the belly, it’s generally a relaxed sign and a request for a belly rub.
3) Facial Expressions- Dogs and humans have similar facial features but they don’t use them in a similar way, like for example, humans yawn when they are bored or tired, whereas dogs generally yawn when they are stressed. Some reports suggest that dogs yawn to calm themselves in stressful conditions.
4) Eyes- Your dog’s eyes can convey a lot of information about its internal state. Relaxed eyelids indicate that your dog is calm and happy, whereas hard eyes show that your dog is in an aggressive state of mind. When a dog gives a hard stare at something for a long duration of time, it can indicate a threat.