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Effectively Communicating with Your Dog

 Submitted by Michael Adams on November 27, 2009

As a family, you may be communicating with the other members using words and gestures. Your pets, although a part of your family, unfortunately cannot talk using words in the same manner. They primarily rely on their body language and the subtle signals that they pass on to you using their bodies.

If you are the owner of a dog, you must know that dogs communicate using their ears, mouth, tail, and their general body language. A happy dogís tail wag is instantly recognizable. However, unfortunately enough, we often miss some of the most vital communication from our dogs for the lack of understanding their silent language.

If a petís behavior changes, people donít usually seem to pick up on it. This change comes to them as unexpected and without sufficient warning. Most of the times though, the signals from the dog are pretty clear, but we are just not able to decode them. Experienced pet owners understand the importance of training their dogs well in order to teach them how to communicate. However, if our own body language presents miscommunication to the dog, there may be several problems in training. The first step in communicating effectively with your dog is to understand the nature of your dog and set your body language accordingly. For example, if you have a dominant dog, you have to show the dog that you are the boss. Relenting to your dogís unreasonable wishes can make your pet dominant over you and it will eventually become a hard to control situation. If a dog misinterprets the body language of a person, it may end up threatening or biting you. The tail wagging of a dog is often misinterpreted as friendliness. This is a mistake that most people make. In reality, when a dogís tail is straight or curled over the back and is moving rapidly from one side to another, it is not a sign of friendliness. Quick movements in a dog indicate arousal and anger. If a dog has bared its teeth, this is a sure sign or maliciousness. A lot of owners imitate their petsí body language in order to convey their message. For instance, the use of play blows can convey that you are in a frisky mood and want to play with the dog. There are many instinctual calming signals in dogs which can be used by the owners to avoid a threatening or a stressful situation. Canine signals should be watched carefully. If possible, also try to understand what your dog is trying to tell you. If you observe your dog carefully, you will find out a lot about it that will eventually be helpful to you.
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