Translating Dog Talk to English






Why is it we expect our dogs to understand everything we say to them and yet, we never take the time to understand what they are saying to us?

Here we are a larger than life overbearing human creature that goes about waving our hands and arms, sometimes yelling words our poor dogs do not understand and we expect perfect behavior from them.

When was the last time you took a moment or two to try and understand what your dog was trying to tell you?

Gotcha didn’t I?

You cannot remember the last time or even the first time you listened to your dog.

Well, with a great deal of effort I am going to try and translate some of your dog’s actions into words you will understand.

A wagging tail to most of us means a friendly dog, but not always. Sometimes a wagging tail can mean the dog is ready to attack, is frightened or is happy, Interpretation depends on the look on the dog’s face, is it relaxed or tense and are its ears in a relaxed position or poised back ready to charge. Be aware of the circumstances before assuming the wagging tail is a sign of friendship.

A tail between its legs is a sign of submission. Sometimes when a dog is scolded it will put its tail between its legs to say, ”Hey I am sorry,” and sometimes it means I am frightened and scared do not hurt me.

A tail straight up and stiff is showing you that your dog is confident and may be feeling a wee bit defiant and strong. Also some dogs have been bred to have their tails straight up at all times.

If your dog or any dog you are trying to pet shies away when you pet its head they are behaving naturally. If your hand is coming straight down to pet a dog’s head it can be seen as a sign of dominance on your part and not a sign of a friendly person.

Believe it or not a dog prefers a scratch under the chin or on the side of its face to pats on the head.

Whining especially in a puppy can mean it is hungry, cold or lonely. Paying some attention will usually quiet the puppy. If an older dog whines be certain there are no medical problems causing it? They too, need food, warmth and love.

Barking at the mailman. What fun! Barking at someone who will leave almost as soon as you bark gives a feeling of dominance. Your dog feels very powerful and happy doing that.

The nose to the other dog’s behind ordeal. Embarrassing, as it may seem to us, it is a necessary part of a dog’s world. They can learn a zillion things about each other without a word being exchanged. We have to rely on words and actions, dogs only need a few seconds of scent to know it all.

Tail chasing looks like a game dog’s play and in a way it is, but it can become a serious habit and can cause anxiety and stress that will need medical help. Dogs who have been bred as hunters tend to have this problem the most if they are not allowed out to use their instincts to wander in the woods in search of “outdoor animal” scents. A tail becomes “the prey” as it keeps moving away. Some dogs can even injure themselves by biting and chewing on their tails.

Eating Grass! We think dogs eat grass to settle their stomach problems and they do eat it for that reason, some eat it because they like to eat grass. Some throw up and some dogs do not. Either way it is no big deal and should be no cause for concern. Pawing the ground after going to the bathroom. This is a common habit for most dogs; I always thought it was their way of washing their paws after eliminating, like we do our hands. Not so! It is another means of leaving a stronger scent for the next dog to read. Odor is a dog’s newspaper.

Kisses and more kisses, a dog’s licks can be taken as a sign of affection from most dogs. They like the attention they get from it and it also remind them of days with mom.

A dog licking his lips on a constant basis can be a sign of stress and anxiety. It would be wise to see what is causing the problem.

Taking time to urinate. Nothing drives a dog’s human more crazy than waiting for the pup to decide to go to the bathroom. The sniffing seems to go on forever. Did you ever wonder why? No, it is not because our dog want to drive you crazy it is because the urine scent is part of the newspaper network that a dog’s scent creates. Some dog’s want to read what information the other dog’s have left before leaving its own, while some want to leave message in a new and clean spot. Female dogs tend not to be so fussy; male dogs on the other hand are great news hounds.

Rolling in “yuck.” Why do most dogs love to roll in things that are not acceptable to their humans? It seems the worse a thing smells the better a dog likes it. For one thing it is a way to communicate to another dog of what a wonderful day it had and gives his friend an opportunity to enjoy it too. In days of yore, dogs rolled in stinky stuff to hide the fact they were around and kept predators away.

Sticking their head out the moving car window. Dogs love the feeling of the wind on their faces, plus the fact dogs are scent oriented and the smells of the world as they pass by is very interesting to the dog. The danger lies in the fact flying things can cause eye injuries. It is better to be safe than sorry and keep the windows closed and the air conditioner on. People sniffing can cause a human embarrassment when done by a dog. Dogs just seem to head right for the groin area of visiting humans. Why? For the same reason they smell each other, they can tell a lot about you and what your reaction to them is. They can even tell the difference between identical twins by their smell…

Walking in circles before lying down is a habit that has been instilled in a dog down through the generations. Dogs in the wild flattened down the grasses and other material when they were ready to nap by walking around it.

Blinking is something a dog does when it is thinking hard about something. For instance if you want your dog to sit and he stands there blinking, he is wondering “do I have to?”

Last but not least in this little information about what is your dog saying is “yawning.” We yawn when we are tired or bored and so does a dog. Yawning is a way for a dog to also cope with stress. We may find something to do with our hands or minds when we are stressed, but a dog does not have that ability or mind set. Yawning is a way to cope. If your dog is yawning a great deal and you know it is not tired or bored, think about what maybe stressing he/she out. Have there been changes the household that may have upset your pet? Stress can cause all kinds of behavioral problems if not corrected.

I hope you enjoyed this little walk through what your dog is trying to tell you.

Dogs are such interesting and wonderful creatures and they deserve our time in trying to understand them as best as we can.