The language of a dog is not just the ruff and woof, it is much more than that. Although the dogs communicate through a variety of distinct noises and sounds, their body language for the most part has been ignored. In fact, their body language speaks louder than their woofs.
Body language in dogs and humans is very different from each other’s. The way human facial expressions, postures and movements portray something, they can mean a completely opposite signal for a dog. The body language of a dog has variety of aspects, which need to be interpreted in relation with each other, as it will give a better understanding of what your dog is trying to communicate.
Understanding Dog’s Body Language:
As previously stated, communication in dogs is not restricted to their vocal expressions but their whole body is involved. Two of the most significant role players are the tail and the ears of a dog. A dog uses both of them to get his feelings known.
Here is how you can interpret the body language of a dog through the movement of his tail and ears.
What Tail Can Indicate?
Every sentiment of a dog has a telltale sign, involving the tail of the dog. Some dogs have fluffy, huge tails while others flaunt small curly one. There are some breeds with smaller tails, which don’t say a lot. There are some dog breeds like Irish wolfhound, whippet, etc who tend to keep their tails tucked between their legs. This means that they will not be able to express anxiety by holding it between limbs like the other breeds do. So, it is crucial to take the context into consideration, as well as the breed of the dog before making a judgement about them hiding the tail.
- Wagging Tail
A wagging tail is generally associated with happiness and excitement in a dog. While in reality, that is not the case. A wagging tail tells that the dog seeks an interaction. Building on what has been said previously, you will need to combine it with other signs of body language to come at the conclusion about either the dog being happy or anxious.
The frequency of wagging the tail is also important as it offers a hint about the sentiments behind it. If the speed is high, it means that the dog is happy and excited, while a slow pace will indicate that the dog is nervous or wary.
Stiff Wagging Tail
A stiff wagging tail is a sign of anxiousness, as well as if the dog has aggressive tendencies. It is often time dubbed as flag tail, not to be confused with the flagging tail but females in heat.
Tail Tucked Between Legs
If a dog has his tail between the legs, it is highly likely that he is stressed or scared. It can turn into defensive aggression on the part of the dog in relation to the context and over all body language and posture of the dog. It is recommended to approach such dogs with poise and caution.
This behavior is displayed by the dogs who are in an unfamiliar environment or situations. It shows the uncertain and vulnerable nature of the dog. If a dog has a submissive attitude, he is going to keep the tail hidden between his legs, which is their sign of “no conflict” and “surrender.”
What Dog’s Ears Are Telling You?
Just like the tail, the ears of a dog also tell a lot, when it comes to reading body language. The position of ears changes depending on the situation a dog is in, and when combined with the other signs of body language, you can interpret what your dog is trying to communicate.
Ears Held Back
If the ears of a dog are slightly pulled back, along with a jolly wagging tail, it means that your dog is looking for some love. If the ears are pinned back or flat, or on the sides, they are the signs of fear. Flattened ears and other body language signs can either be gesture of submission or precursor to an attack.
Ears Pointed Upwards
Upwards pointed ears are a sign that the dog is signaling caution or alert. It is almost the hair on the skin in humans, ears in dogs point upwards with a cocked head in the direction of the source of this alertness.