photo credit: OakleyOriginals
I communicate with my dogs all the time. They’re very vocal, but through the various noises they make to their body language and facial expressions. Although I don’t get it right 100% of the time, I’m pretty confident that I know how my dogs feel from minute to minute.
I took some time to reach out to the Dog Behaviorist, Dog Trainer, and Dog Behavior Consultant Communities to learn about some common dog signals pet owners might miss or misinterpret.
dog behavior 1 | what lip licking can mean
Joan Mayer, THE INQUISITIVE CANINE, LLC, a certified professional dog trainer and dog behavior consultant
“Lip licking when being pet. The theory is that dogs do this when they are conflicted, stressed or uncomfortable. People tend to ignore it, pushing the dog to a more uncomfortable level.”
dog behavior 2 | tail wagging can mean several things
Turk Akbay, Off Leash Dog Training, an owner of Off Leash Dog Training.com, Akbay has trained Over 500 dogs
“Most people automatically assume tail wag means the dog is happy. This is not true. It means the dog is communicating. Dogs will wag their tails when nervous, as well as angry.”
dog behavior 3 | dogs react to what we silently communicate too
Carolyn Doherty, a dog behaviorist who does private lessons in the LA area, with problem solving serious issues as my specialty. Carolyn has been training animals for 20yrs, including 15yrs in the film industry.
“I work a lot with dog owners on what they are communicating to their dogs while on leash, and how to interpret what their dogs respond to them. Inexperienced dog owners so often inadvertently create fear, anxiety, confusion and aggression towards other people and animals with the inappropriate way they hold back their dogs and talk to them. The dogs read the lack of confidence as reason to be anxious or “on guard” and act as such, when they would have otherwise been calm and relaxed.”
Carolyn is also the co-author of a brand new book called Petscaping: Training and Landscaping With Your Pet in Mind, available on Amazon.com.
dog behavior 4 | I’m processing a thought – dogs ARE smart!
Cheryl Zander, Canine Behavior Therapist, Bark Buster Home Dog Training, and a long time dog owner
“A wagging tail means I won’t bite and I’m happy. A wagging tail only means the dog is processing a thought. If the rest of the body says I’m afraid or aggressive the wagging tail doesn’t indicate happiness.” Cheryl adds that “dogs are amazing creatures that are always trying to tell us something in THEIR language.” She can teach you to understand that language and communicate to your dog more efficiently than you do.
dog behavior 5 | Every Dog is Different
Kimberly Gauthier, Professional Blogger
“When our dogs have to go potty they give us signals. Sydney sits at the door, sometimes she’ll scratch the door. Rodrigo does one of two things, he moves around a lot, like he can’t get comfortable, or he pants really heavily and links one spot on one of his legs over and over. This is how we know that it’s potty time.”
So, what types of behaviors have you noticed with your dogs and what do they mean?