Orhan Pamuk once said, “Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.” So, this World Dog Day, let’s make an attempt to understand the four-legged, adorable pooches better. They say love has no language, but when it comes to dogs, it’s worth putting an effort into understanding their language!
As dogparents or just people fond of dogs, at some point we’ve all wondered, “What could they be thinking about at this moment?” Well, we don’t have all the answers but here are five top tips to understand dogs’ body language.
1. Downward Dog
When you find a dog in a downward dog position (the popular yoga asana is literally named after this), it means you will find them with their hinds in the air and chest stretched in the front. A downward dog typically means they are inviting you to play. So, get ready with frisbees and balls, and indulge in some fun playtime.
2. Paw Licks
We observe that some dogs sometimes tend to excessively lick their paws. The key word being, excessively, as occasional paw licking is normal. This may be a sign of anxiety or boredom so it would be ideal to pay attention. Other scenarios may indicate an injury, dermatitis, allergy, or pain; best to consult a veterinarian to identify the cause and treat it.
3. Circle and lie down
Most often dogs circle around the area before they lie down. This curious behavior dates back to prehistoric times when their ancestors did the same to build a safe “nest”, but it continues to be hard-wired in dogs.
4. Belly expose
Dogs exposing their bellies can mean one of two things: One, they want to be petted and this is their way of requesting a belly rub. In this case, their overall body language would be loose with an open mouth. Two, they may also expose their bellies as a submissive display, in which case, their overall body language would be tense.
5. Avoid eye contact
There might be various reasons for dogs to avoid eye contact. For one, friendly eye contact does not exist amongst canines so it may be an instinctive trait. They also avoid eye contact as a means of avoiding conflict, especially with fellow dogs. And lastly, they usually avoid looking at you when they are guilty of something. Better to check behind the sofa or your kitchen cabinets!
Learning canine communication is an ongoing process. It is good for us to understand their language, as it helps us understand when they’re anxious, snappy, moody, or just unwell.
Tell us in the comments below if you’ve observed a dog trying to communicate with you and what you think it meant.
A marketing professional, Sanya enjoys ideating and brainstorming to come up with crazy ideas that create lots of fun-filled moments for BYJUites. Outside of work, you can find her playing with her dogs (or any dog, really), watching movies, having biryani, or going for long drives singing along to some loud Bollywood music. She also loves hoarding journals to just scribble in random thoughts or make to-do lists. Write to her at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to share a story or just say "hi".
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