Have you ever watched two dogs run through a field or dog park, playing with one another and appearing to have a conversation all of their own? If you’re a dog lover, chances are that you have! It’s important to take a moment and understand what your pet (and their playmate) is saying to each other – whether it’s positive or negative communication.
When it comes to speaking to one another, dogs are incredibly vocal! We’ve all heard the happy “ruffs” and excited squeals of two canines that are jubilantly running together. However, when it comes to communication there are two key ways to decipher what dogs are trying to say: barking and body language.
Dogs like to talk just as much as humans, evident by their need to be vocal around other canines. What makes it tricky to understand them is that a great deal of meaning comes from pitch, volume, and quantity versus specific sounds. Whenever your pet releases a low-pitched sound, like a growl, they’re signaling threat, anger, and potential aggression towards the dog they are near. Sharp barks with mid-range pitch are quite common, and often serve as a cautious “hello.” Once the dog decides that his canine companion is a friend, the sharpness of the barking gives way to contentment.
Frequency is another indicator of what dogs are trying to say. Short bursts of barking that are spaced out relay a low level or excitement, and can be interpreted as your pet saying “I see you!” Steady barking while the tail is wagging is a call for companionship, and if the dogs greeting is relaxed and friendly, it’s likely the barking will subside.
Incessant barking can mean there’s potential trouble and the pack (or human family) should take note. The next time patience runs thin for a dog who is barking repeatedly as another dog crosses the street, remember that are trying to alert their loved ones and may need coaching on socialization.
If two dogs are sharing a toy, it’s important to keep a close eye on the situation. If one dog emits a single yelp or high-pitched bark, it means that are in pain and no longer having fun. Dogs may correct themselves at this point, but if several of these yelps occur, safely separate the animals.
Body language is another way your pets communicate with each other. The play bow is one signal that often indicates playfulness, but it can also be a sort of apology. Keep an eye on the dogs ears, if they are up (not back at angle) they’re happy and all is well. If the ears lay back and the tail is straight or between their legs, use extreme caution and separate the animals. They’re communicating to you and the other dog that they are uncomfortable with the situation.
If one dog reaches out and gives his four-legged pal a little paw slap, it’s not meant to offend. This often means the dog is comfortable, and can be thought of as a canine high-five. Rising on hind legs is another playful gesture, meant to entice a friend and engage in exercise. Nipping is sign of play, but pet owners should be very cautious when this begins and consider redirecting the situation to more relaxed play. This does not mean getting in between two dogs that are nipping or biting! It means consider redirecting them through distractions or treats.
For more information on communication and to receive training on socialization visit www.ItsADogsWorld.biz or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.