A Dogs Non-Verbal Commination

Welcome again, to the African Dog Whisperer blog!

This week we are continuing with canine communication facts! We will be discussing the non-verbal communication.

Dogs are experts at both communicating via body language and receiving information through body language. Humans, however, are not as perceptive. Dogs believe that we can understand them just as easily as they understand us. This, however, is certainly not true.

Canine body language is sophisticated, yet extremely subtle. Movement signals in a dog can be as a minimal as a centimeter of movement and some only last for a tenth of a second. Dogs communicate an enormous amount of information through these changes in their demeanor, posture and facial expressions.

Submission is a common signal that dogs show both us and other dogs as a sign of respect. There are more than 30 signals that dogs give to show submission, referred to as “calming signals.” For example, the position of a head movement or change in ear position is one way that dogs communicate with one another and show either dominance or submission.

Humans, in contrast with canines, often stare with intent which can be seen as dominant in combination with other actions. Though we do not have tails like a dog, or ears that can wiggle and move easily, we do have hands that we often use for the same purposes. However we have to teach them to see our hands as communication signals and not paws.

  1. Non-dominant: Leaning back is a dog’s way of saying “come closer to me.”
  2. Dominant or aggressive: Leaning forward indicates that you should not get any closer, unless the head is bowed, and eyes are semi closed.

Dogs Communicate Non-Verbally:

  1. Eye Gaze:

Dogs communicate with their eyes; when they want to threaten, warn, or express dominance to another dog, they will engage in a direct eye-to-eye stare. On the other hand, a dog will avoid direct eye contact or blink to other dogs that they are not a threat.

  1. Ear Position:

Dog use their ears to show if the dog is defending itself, showing submission, or showing fear.

  1. Facial Expressions:

The mouth shape is also a way a dog uses to communicate. This includes; yawning, relaxed mouth slightly open, snarling, and smile (submissive grin).

  1. Tail Movements:

Tail wagging is a very common behaviour, but it does not always mean the dog is happy. If the dog is actually relaxed it will have its mouth open slightly and a relaxed face. Where if the dog is agitated, it will hold the tail high with quick movements.

  1. Head and Neck Postures:

Heads that are held high are paying attention or challenging you. Where, heads that are held low show submission.

Bees Training Tip: When giving dogs any command, use your body language – dogs are experts in this type of communication. Hand signals, body movements and even eye contact can all be easily understood by dogs.

Dogs use their bodies to communicate 24/7, do not ignore it!

Until the next time.


Contact Bee to book a training session for your pup: https://biancaabigail.wixsite.com/beeswalkingpaws

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