How do I know if my dog is talking to me? Surprising Answer

Pay attention to what he does.

For example, if you are trying to introduce your dog to another dog and he seems to be uncomfortable, if he is hiding behind your legs or simply retreating from the dog or person, this is a pretty good indication that he does not want to do what you are forcing him to do. And while sometimes these interactions are necessary (if you are introducing another dog into the home or are trying to take your dog to the vet), if you are in a casual situation that your dog is obviously not enjoying, it is probably not a good idea to force him to continue to do that thing.

Pay attention to his body language.

Unlike humans that might try to mask their body language or put on a face, your dog will never try to deceive you with his body language. He wants you to know what he’s thinking and feeling, especially when he is happy or uncomfortable. If you want to know what your dog is saying, pay attention to his body language. A wagging tail and relaxed body usually means that he is happy or at least content. Bared teeth and raised hackles means that he is sensing danger. Panting or exaggerated yawning can mean that he is nervous and is trying to calm down. These cues and others are great ways to listen to your dog.

The Sounds

If your dog one day starts speaking to you, pull out your phone and take a video, and politely take to the celebrity status. Until then, expect subtle verbal cues for decoding canine body language. Dogs communicate with their physical presence; however, there are some sound signals you can rely on to interpret what theyre thinking or feeling.

If a dog is calm, they may pant quietly. In fact, it may be so unnoticeable that you might classify it as light breathing. Dogs pant slightly when they are happy or energetic. If you ask your pup to take a walk with you, their breathing will become slightly heavier. Dogs also pant when they are nervous.

Heavy panting is something to pay close attention to. Its a sign that something could be seriously wrong with your dog. Dogs will pant when they are overheating or if they are suffering from a trauma or chronic illness. When you notice your dog panting, let them rest and try to keep them cool. If the panting persists for a long period of time, call your vet to schedule a check-up to ensure there are no underlying health conditions.

Whining is a difficult vocalization to identify. Vetstreet explains that whining may be a dogs way of “asking” for something, like attention or dinnertime. A dog may be excited or feeling energetic. Other dogs whine as a reaction to stress. An injured or ill dog may whine to express their discomfort. Like many of the other dog body language cues, its important to look for other indicators to identify why your dog may be whining.

As you spend more time with your dog, youll slowly start to pick up on different types of whining. Combined with body cues, some dogs will whine to try and get your attention because youre not focused on them. Other dogs may whine and go sit by the backdoor to let you know that they need to go relieve themselves (congrats on potty training your pup if this is your dog). Whining tends to have a negative connotation, but in this case, youd dogs whining is okay and can even be seen as cute. However, if your dog is whining with no subtle cues that they are happy or needs to go outside, there might be an underlying health concern for you to address. Because dogs cannot tell you whats wrong, its best to bring them into the vet and have them checked out, just to be on the safe side.

Barking is a lot like yelling for humans. Your dog is trying to express themself, and the only way they can get their feelings out is by barking. Dog barks come in different pitches, and while some may be more menacing than others, it is always important to pay attention to a dogs barking. A continuous rapid barking is often an alert. Your dog may have noticed someone in his territory — like a postal worker — and they want to make their housemates (and the other dogs in the neighborhood) aware, too. Loud, deep barks are often a warning to strangers: “Dont take a step closer, I dont trust you.” Follow their advice and proceed cautiously. Finally, a yelping bark often comes from a dog that is injured. If you come across a dog thats yelping, call for help. They may need urgent care, but keep in mind that an injured dog might also be a cautious one, and therefore may not see your concern as an attempt to help but rather a danger signal.

Howling is similar to barking that dogs get from their wolf ancestral roots. It is a higher-pitched held out note to announce their presence as well as communicate with other dogs in the area. While it can be loud and annoying, it is just another form of communication for your dog.

No, your dog probably isnt the worlds next great pop-star, but dogs can vocalize their barks in an almost singing manner. This is typically done when they are happy. It is not uncommon to find dogs that like to sing while you play the piano, tell you how happy they are when you get home, or let you know that they enjoy playing with you. This form of vocalization is just a way for them to let you know that they are in a good mood.

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