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Own a Dog and Learn a New Language!

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Learn new language

Jessie, the well-read dog, fluent in every language when it comes to barking:

When you have a dog, you are all but required to learn a new language – dog language!  Although dogs primarily read humans visually, we do have a few sounds of our own that are important for you to understanding the inherent meaning.   Here are some common vocalizations of dogs that are meant for specific messages:

  • Howling means loneliness.
  • Growling suggests a warning or disgust.
  • Multiple barks in rapid succession are like an alarm or an attempt to rally the social group to investigate something of interest or a threat.
  • Moaning signifies intense pleasure or contentment.
  • Whining is begging, much like a child does!
  • Yawning is a vocalization of excitement or frustration.
  • High-pitched barking signifies play or frustration.

Then there is the proverbial silent treatment! To truly understand your dog, you have to tune into the visual clues they are giving you.  For example…

  • When he turns his head away, he is avoiding conflict and preventing direct eye contact, which can be viewed as threatening by other dogs.
  • When he licks his lips, he is easing personal stress or calming members of a social group. In a fearful dog, this may precede biting.
  • When a dog shakes, much like he has just had a bath, he is relieving stress. He may do this after a very frightening or exciting experience.
  • Showing the “whale eye,” when the whites of the eyes are visible, is a sign of fear or aggression.
  • When the tail is up, he is confident; over the back suggests dominance; down means he is relaxed and submissive; between the legs is a sign of fear; and consistent wagging with the entire body and hips is a sign of happiness.
  • When he presents with an averted gaze, he is providing peaceful intentions and polite behavior, along with a bit of fear.
  • Showing of the belly, especially when lying flat on his back with his paws over the center of his chest is a sign of trust and submission. If he does this while lying on his side while lifting one hind leg or front paw, it is still a sign of submission, but laced with a bit of fear and/or apprehension.

Well, that is enough of Dog Language 101 for today.  Thanks to for providing this information. Now, go “talk” to your dog…and be sure to listen, as I am confident he has plenty to say!




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