For those who have mastered other languages or even just taken a beginning course in a foreign language, you know what’s it like to be able to understand what it’s like to have a whole new world open up to you. Suddenly, you know exactly what food you’re ordering at a French restaurant, or perhaps you no longer need subtitles to enjoy your favorite foreign film.
Much like learning a new language and engaging yourself in the culture and history of a new country, learning how to “speak” dog is an educational opportunity to learn just what your dog is trying to tell you. Just by evaluating the direction of a dog’s ears, the position of the dog’s tail, and expressions in a dog’s eyes, you can learn if a dog is happy, uncomfortable, unsure, submissive, or dominant. Even varying pitches and tones in a dog’s bark can tell you exactly what the dog is feeling.
When rescuing dogs from the shelters, we often hear that people have given up their dogs because the dog bit someone or attacked another dog “out of nowhere.” But more often than not, that same dog had been giving off warning signals long before the incident occurred and unfortunately, those signals were unnoticed by the people.
While there may not necessarily be extracurricular courses one could sign up to learn doggy language, we highly recommending renting a DVD informational video that will teach you just how many different body language postures and other signals that dogs use to speak to us and to each other. Check online for Am I Safe? and The Language of Dogs presented by certified dog behavior consultant and pet dogs trainer, Sarah Kalnajs. Even if you are very experienced with dog behaviors, these video seminars provide great visuals and knowledge you may never have realized in the past.
Besides all of the great information, wouldn’t it be great to brag to your friends that you’re fluent in “Dog-a-nese?”