You know what they say about human communication, that more than half of it is non-verbal? So how crucial must it be to understand canine communication, which is almost all non-verbal, depending how vocal your particular pup is, that is!
Just like people, dogs can get angry and frustrated if they feel misunderstood. So this means quite a learning curve for us to understand their voices, their body language and their responses. And we have quite a few myths around what emotions are showing, which can lead to huge misunderstanding and unhappiness.
So, when is a wag not a happy wag? What are hackles and what do they tell us? Why is growling a good thing?
Are the dogs above dog really smiling? Images like this are often used to show a'happy' dog; and they're really cute photos! In fact both could be showing stress, by pulling their lips back at the sides. The one below is clearly far more relaxed and cheerful. He's still 'smiling' but his face is relaxed, not 'stretched'.
We're are going to look fascinating nuggets like this in our PupRepublic dog behaviour guide. We will take bite-sized topics and try to shine a light on them. It’s a fascinating subject, and really important in caring well for our canine companions both at home and in the world at large, as well as becoming ever-closer to our four-legged family!
( shout out to Ja San Miguel, Karsten Winegaart and Katie Bernotsky on Unsplash for the lovely photos.)