How does the dog speak?

20 APRIL 2020

TOBALIE

Our dogs talk to us basically all the time. They are very social creatures and have a large repertoire of expression. We have to learn to understand them in order to avoid misunderstandings and to live harmoniously with them. Dogs talk with the help of:

Body language

This includes posture, muscle tension, facial expression and also movement. Already with small signals the dog can tell us a lot: A lowering of the tail, a licking across the nose or an averting glance. The dogs also send many so-called calming signals. You have to learn to see, recognize and understand them. Every dog learns in the course of his life which signals help him (e.g. black dogs use their tongue more, because it is well visible on dark fur, eyebrows on the other hand are badly perceived and therefore used less). The dog has learned to distinguish between the language of humans and the language of its conspecifics. He knows, for example, that a laughing person is friendly, but the teeth of another dog indicate displeasure.

If we humans permanently ignore these gentle signals, the dog goes on the escalation scale and switches to verbal language.

Verbal language

Just as varied are the acoustic signals. A dog can not only bark, but also use different sounds with different meanings. The “spoken language” includes howling, whining, growling, whimpering, humming, squeaking, howling and much more. If the appeasement signals were ignored and the dog is now also forbidden to growl, he has hardly any possibilities to communicate. He suffers silently until he can’t stand it anymore and at some point bites “suddenly”.

Dogs among each other usually communicate little by voice and rather use other forms of communication.

Tactile communication

Haptic is also part of the language. This includes touch. They nudge, push, cuddle or nibble at each other. But they can also communicate with us humans in this way, for example by placing their head in our lap or touching us with their paw to get attention.

Olfactory communication

Olfactory signals (odours) are a fixed component of intra-species communication for dogs. The species is less suitable for communication with us humans, as our nose can only smell a fraction. The smell of urine and faeces tells the dog a lot about e.g. the mood and health of another dog. You can also smell the sex or in which direction the other one has gone. Male dogs sniff if a dog is in heat. So sniffing the excrement and urine is comparable to reading a newspaper. That is why the genital area is also sniffed during the greeting among conspecifics, because there are many scent glands. The anal glands, which secrete the anal secretion with each excrement, are also located in this area and are individual scent marks. Like the personal business card.

Subtle communication

Dogs perceive a lot of things that remain hidden to many people. The 6th and 7th sense helps them to perceive their environment. Therefore it is also important what you feel and think when you communicate with your fellow dog. If you say e.g. “With me”, but you have the image of a dog running away in your head, this is confusing for your pet. This ambivalence should also be taken into account in your body language. If we stay with the example “Come here” and you stand bent forward, frontally to him, this is rather a sign for the dog to keep distance. If you turn slightly to the side or squat down, you invite your darling to come to you.

In everyday life all these forms of expression are combined. That is why the dog must always be considered as a whole and depending on the situation. Dogs talk to you in their own way.

Dogs talk also with their voices

Summary

Languages are not learned in one day either. Practice observation and gradually learn to understand the dog language better. Only in this way is a harmonious cooperation possible.