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Pet Wellness - Understanding Canine Communication

Most dog owners have some idea of how their pet communicates with them. Barking, howling, whining, and the tipping of the head are the most common canine communication movements. However there are loads more ways your dog communicates or expresses himself and good pet wellness practices means knowing how to understand your dogs feelings through his communication techniques. This is especially important when dogs are living with small children.

Dogs communicate with body movements and sounds in order to convey signals to other dogs or humans. Here are some examples of canine communication that will help you better understand your dog's needs and moods.

Alertness
When the tail and ears are raised.

Fear
When the tail is tucked between the legs. The dog is defensive when the fur on the tail stands on end.

Curiosity
A slow wag of the tail and laid back ears.

Happiness
Wags tail rapidly.

Submission to pack leader (the dog's owner)
Hips are pulled with the wagging of the tail.

Expressions of the mouth demonstrate mood of the dog.

Wants to be left alone
Dog may yawn or lick it's mouth. This is also a sign of tiredness, confusion or stress.

Happy and wants to play
Panting with relaxed lips covering the teeth or with an open mouth.

Aggression or violence
Snarling with retracted lips and bared teeth and fangs. A vicious snarl showing all teeth is a sign that the dog will attack.

Shows interest
A raised eyebrow implies your dog is interested or curious in what he is seeing.

Confusion or mild anger
A lowered eyebrow

Fondness of someone
Narrowed eyes to slits demonstrates the dog's fondness of someone or something he is looking at.

Wants to be left alone
Half mooned eyes

Interest / trying to understand
The dog's head tips either left or right.

Excitement or need for attention
Stamping the foot while the hind legs are still


Playful or excited
Short sharp barks

Stressed or disturbed
A high pitch rhythmic bark

Feeling threatened and could attack
A soft, low pitch growl

An invitation to play
A powerful growl without showing teeth

Dog growls should be observed carefully. If your dog growls at kids or others it is possible he is being territorial. This can be corrected with the help of a trainer or canine specialist.

A sign of separation anxiety
Howling when the owner is leaving or is away. Howling can occur with loud noises as well, when the dog interprets the noise with another dog's howl.

The dog wants something or needs attention
Whining is a high pitched sound released through the nose with the mouth shut. When your dog does this it is a good pet wellness practice to pay attention and find out why he is needing your attention. A whining dog should not be ignored.

The dog is in pain
A whimper or yelp.

Strong excitement (such as when a dog sees his owner coming)
Whimpering along with licking, jumping and barking.

Strong pet wellness practices means that dog owners are able to read and understand their dog's feelings and ways of communicating. Observing and understanding these canine communication signals enables the owner to know how his dog is feeling, when he needs something, how his mood is, and how he is relating to other people.

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