Like all animals, dogs have a very specialized form of communication. How dogs communicate is truly fascinating.
You may have already noticed it, but dogs do greet one another. Usually, dogs will each take a turn to circle one another and sniff each of their muzzles and then finally the genital area.
In a perfect world, this is a cool and collected introduction between dogs. They learn a lot through smelling each other. This can be weird to us humans, but this is totally perfect for them.
Through their sense of smell
Dogs and other animals that investigate things using their sense of smell, have an organ called the Jacobson’s or vomeronasal organ, found in their nasal cavity.
Basically, they learn a lot of things about the other animal through the chemicals they pick up. They can detect odors that help them understand whether it’s a male or female dog, as well as identifying the other canine.
Because of this behavior, dogs are able to communicate with other dogs in a way that is beyond human understanding.
The way their body moves
We assume that as long as the dog is wagging its tail, it means that he is friendly and contented. But it’s not always the case. We need to look at our dog to understand his body signals.
A dog can still wag its tail while he is very tense. This is usually a sign that the dog is defensive or alert.
How the ears move and are positioned can also signal a different reaction. Ears that are moved forward can mean that your pet is highly interested or agitated. If the dog’s ears are pinned tightly against its head, he may be stressed or worried.
A dog’s eyes may also play a role. If its eyes are staring hard at something, it means they are feeling defensive or concerned. But if their gaze is soft and expressive, it means that they are relaxed.
The most common body signal, that almost all humans show the same reaction to, is when your dog snarls, with their teeth exposed. It can only mean one thing – that they are upset and are ready to bite.
Another way dogs communicate with each other is through barking. However, barks can vary widely, especially in tone and intensity. If your dog is barking, you can check out what, or who, they are barking at.
This will give you an idea as to what they are trying to communicate. Are they excited to meet other dogs? Or are they frustrated? Barking has different patterns to it and it should give you an idea what your dog is trying to convey.
And just like humans, for dogs to have a “meaningful communication”, two or more should exhibit alertness and attentiveness.
If you notice that only one dog is doing all the “talking”, such as chasing without taking turns, or pinning another dog, then this is a potentially harmful behavior. This is an undesirable introduction that we owners must learn to understand.
The fact of the matter is, dogs communicate with each other in their own special way. What’s important is that you know how to handle them, when they encounter other dogs and animals.
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For a more comprehensive, in-depth analysis of how dogs communicate, take a look at this excellent article on Dog Communication and Body Language: https://centerforshelterdogs.tufts.edu/dog-behavior/dog-communication-and-body-language/
For a look at how important socialization is to your canine friend, take a look at our article on it here: https://thebarkingblog.com/how-important-socialization-is-to-your-canine-friend/
For handy hints and tips on how to have a successful trip to your local dog park, read all about it here: https://thebarkingblog.com/dog-park-dos-and-donts/
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