Learning Your Dog’s Secret Language

How well do you communicate with your dog?

If your dog could talk, oh the things he would say. As dog owners, we wish we could sit down and have a conversation with our canine friends. While they may not speak our language, they do communicate with us every day. We just have to learn their language.

As Pet Insurance points out, research shows that dogs have their own way of communicating not only with other dogs, but with humans as well.

Understanding Dog Body Language

Dogs often use body language to communicate. Some typical signals include:


  • Bright eyes: When a dog sees a creature he considers friendly, his eyes brighten. When dogs are afraid, their pupils dilate.
  • Facial expressions: When dogs are determined or confused, they straighten or wrinkle their little foreheads.
  • The dog smile: When dogs are happy or they want to play, they may pull their lips back and appear to smile. Dogs will only do this with humans; never with other dogs.
  • Ear position: When a dog’s ears are down, he may be showing submission. When his ears are perked up, that means he’s listening or relaxed.
  • Tail wag: Research shows that when dogs wag their tail more to the left, it’s an indication of negative feelings. When they wag their tail more to the right, it’s an indication of positive feelings.

How Dogs Communicate with Other Dogs

Dogs have a different way of communicating with other dogs. Some common signals include:


  • The “Paw five”: When a dog pats another dog with his paw, it’s a sign that he trusts the pup he’s playing with.
  • Play bow: Most humans are familiar with this gesture, and it means “it’s time to play”. But it can also be an apology to other dogs when playing gets too rough.
  • Biting: Biting can also be a sign of play, and dogs will take care to avoid sensitive parts of the other animal.
  • Hind leg rearing: When dogs rear their hind legs, it should be viewed as a sign of affection. When dogs do this during play, it sometimes looks as if they’re dancing.

The article at VIP Pet Insurance goes on to say:

  Barking Dogs

Just like their human owners, dogs like to talk. However, unlike body signals, barking can represent different things to different dogs. The pitch or volume of the bark will increase with the dog’s level of emotion.

And it could be that artificial intelligence is better at distinguishing dog barks than humans are. Hungarian researches recently tested 6,000 different barks from 14 Hungarian sheepdogs using special software. Their study showed that the computer program correctly identified what the dog was trying to communicate 43 percent of the time, compared with 40 percent for humans.

  Understanding Each Other

We send our dogs to obedience school to teach them how to understand what we want from them. But they also need to tell us what they need from us, and they do so every day. We simply have to open our eyes, ears and hearts to understand what they are trying to say.

Dogs communicate just like humans do. We just have to take the time to pay attention to their body language to understand what they need from us.

Now where did I put my keys???