the things your dog wants to tell you but doesn't know how to

the things your dog wants to tell you but doesn't know how to
    the things your dog wants to tell you but doesn't know how to

    the things your dog wants to tell you but doesn't know how to 
    What do you think your dog would say if she could talk to you? Would she discuss world events, gossip about people you both know, or maybe just use her new-found vocal skills to request more tummy rubs? In some ways, the fact that our furry friends don’t have the gift of the gab is one of their most endearing traits.
    But it can also be confusing and at times frustrating as we struggle to make sense of what it is our canine companions want and need.
    The good news is that, while dogs may not be able to talk, they can communicate with us in many ways. “What humans need to do is learn the language so it can be interpreted correctly,” explains Chiara Perri from Point Cook Dog Training. “Dogs use body language primarily, but it is also important to look at behavior as a whole as this is all part of them trying to tell us something.” From dog owners to those working
    in the pet industry, for example, vets and groomers, developing an understanding of canine body language
    is crucial. By learning to recognize even the most basic body language signs, you can avoid putting your dog in uncomfortable situations which could result in anxiety or even a bite.
    “On the flip side of that, we often also see dogs with high arousal or impulse-control issues and, again, if the body language is correctly understood, it is easy to intervene nice and early to settle the dog, rather than wind it up further or label it as ‘naughty’. Learning to read the early signs means you can make necessary changes that can help the dog rather than hinder it,” Chiara says.
    Carly Bowden, the animal training instructor from RSPCA Queensland, says dogs are constant communicators and use hundreds of stress or calming signals when uncomfortable to try to calm themselves and also defuse scary situations. “Dogs will not escalate to biting unless they are unhealthy or in pain,” she says. They will always try to communicate with the less serious signals before escalating up the ladder of aggression. When it comes to communicating with our dogs, unfortunately, it is us, humans that let the team down — we simply do not know how to read their form of communication.” So how can you work out what your dog is trying to tell you? Let’s take a closer look at five of the most common canine communications and how to understand them.
    I’M SCARED/ANXIOUS
    How can you tell if your dog is uncomfortable, frightened, overly stressed or simply not coping with a situation? “The most common stress signals a dog will demonstrate when scared and uncomfortable is simply looking away, averting eye contact and turning his head away from the scary object. A simple look away is the simplest and most common form of ‘flight’. Other signals include lip licking,
    yawning and panting out of context,” Carly says.
    The dog may have her ears flat against her head and may express her discomfort through a low, grumbling bark or a growl. Looking at the rest of your dog’s body, you may notice stiff body language, a tail carried low or tucked between the legs, and hair rising on the back of the neck.
    Other signs can vary depending on the dog and the situation he finds himself in. For example, some dogs may back away, others will rush forward. Some may stare intensely, others may look away.
    The key is to familiarise yourself with your dog’s warning signs to know when you need to remove him from a situation as soon as possible. I’M HAPPY
    When a dog is happy, Chiara says it exudes that happiness from every part of its body. As a devoted dog lover, chances are you’re pretty familiar with the signs of a pooch that is simply loving life.
    Chiara points to some of the body language cues that can indicate a happy state of mind: “Tongue lolling out of the mouth, smiling face, smiling eyes, wobbly bottom, tail flapping away with butt movement, soft body, and good eye contact.” Look for relaxed muscles, relaxed posture and a body that is best described as loose. I’M BORED
    Most pet owners will know that a bored dog can get up to all kinds of mischief and destructive behavior, like redecorating your lounge room or indulging in a spot of landscape gardening. It’s probably no surprise, then, that determining whether your dog is bored or not is more about behavior than it is about body language.
    “A bored dog will sometimes show some attention-seeking behaviors to get the attention of its humans. Behaviors that manifest from boredom are things such as barking, destructive behaviors and escape behaviors — an increase in these could indicate boredom with no proper outlets,” Carly says.
    In fact, many of the behaviors us humans are quick to label as “naughty” are caused by a dog with a whole lot of physical and mental energy and no acceptable way to expend it, or by a dog that simply wants to spend some quality time with his owner. “Signs are often barking, destructive behavior, stealing stuff to get attention, nipping to get attention, and jumping to get attention,” Chiara says.
    behaviors and escape behaviors — an increase in these could indicate boredom with no proper outlets,” Carly says.
    In fact, many of the behaviors us humans are quick to label as “naughty” are caused by a dog with a whole lot of physical and mental energy and no acceptable way to expend it, or by a dog that simply wants to spend some quality time with his owner. “Signs are often barking, destructive behavior, stealing stuff to get attention, nipping to get attention, and jumping to get attention,” Chiara says. IM IN PAIN
    Some dogs are very good at hiding when they’re in pain, perhaps as part of some natural survival instinct, and will adopt a stoic approach even in the face of severe discomfort. As an owner, it’s important that you’re able to tell when your pet isn’t feeling his best, so watch for any changes in behavior and body language that could indicate a deeper problem.
    Limping on a sore leg and vocalisation when certain areas of the body are touched are obvious examples, but sometimes the clues can be subtler. For example, if your dog is reluctant to get moving and has trouble climbing stairs, these could be signs of arthritis pain. A loss of appetite could indicate pain due to any number of conditions,
    while excessive panting for no apparent reason, particularly if accompanied by trembling, is another key warning sign. A dog in pain may also become grouchy or more aggressive, while others may avoid contact or even become overly clingy and needy.

    The key thing you need to remember is to know what’s normal for your dog, as this will ensure you’re quick to pick up on any changes.
    I WANT TO PLAY
    Unlike cats, most dogs love good oldfashioned playtime with you. However, do you know how to pick up the clues that indicate your pooch is feeling playful? These can differ depending on the dog, as some are far less subtle than others when telling you they’re ready to play.
    Carly explains that a playful dog will use her body language to solicit play and attention from people and also from other dogs. So what should you look for? “Lots of play bows and soft, wiggly body language to encourage interaction,” Carly says. “Generally, a playful dog will exhibit a whole-body wag and her bottom and tail will move dramatically from side to side.” Of course, sometimes you won’t need to watch your pet’s body language too closely to know he’s up for a game.
    Some pooches may paw at or lick their owner’s arm, tug at them, and even try to initiate “chasey” games.
    “Owners need to remember a dog will do whatever it takes to get engaged, so if the owner reinforces inappropriate behavior, the dog will continue to do this. For example, if the dog barks because it wants the owner to play or even toss a ball if the owner follows this through, they are reinforcing the barking. We need to ensure we teach good manners and reinforce them accordingly,” Chiara explains.

    KNOWING THE WARNING SIGNS
    Understanding your pet’s body language cues is a crucial part of being a responsible dog owner, but some
    signs are even more important to pick up on than others. In particular, Chiara stresses just how vital it is to recognize the initial signs of discomfort, such as licking of the lips and yawning and to recognize them in the correct context.
    “This is not to be confused with licking the mouth because of a big tasty treat, or a yawn because it is bedtime. The two signs are often out of context,” she says.
    If a dog is unhappy about someone or something approaching it, it will automatically flick its tongue at the trigger as a signal for it to back off. If this is interpreted correctly and the dog’s personal space doesn't encroach upon any further, the dog calms down. But if the tongue flick is ignored or the dog is forced further into the situation, it may feel that it needs to move to the next option, which might be growling.
    Meanwhile, yawning is often noticed when a dog is in an overwhelming environment. “Some believe the yawn to be a way of relaxing tense jaw muscles and others believe it is again a warning to alert that the dog is stressed.
    Either way, if your dog is yawning excessively, it is wise to pay attention to what is going on around you at the time,” Chiara continues.
    To fully understand your dog, you need to look beyond basic cues like tail wagging or growling, as both of these behaviors can be easily misinterpreted.
    Dogs can display aggression while still wagging their tails and they can growl during play. Always looks for the earliest signs and intervene as soon as possible.
    “Dogs talk to us every day, hoping we can understand their language,” Chiara says. “We just have to start learning theirs.”
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