We see our ability to talk as one of our defining characteristics and most powerful abilities as humans. It allows us to not merely communicate with each other, but to show our deepest thoughts, allowing for more intimate relationships. Far too many of us forget that language is not merely words, but any form of communication. This can be more than sounds but also gestures and body language. Sometimes just by paying attention, what appears to be a mute animal can be one with a number of nuances. Learning how to communicate with your dog, as well as how your dog “talks” to other dogs, can take some time but can be well worth it.
The Basics of Canine Communication
A dog uses four ways to communicate with other dogs: gestures, odor, sounds, and tacticity.
Gestures are the most obvious and can be used to communicate with other dogs over a distance.
Odors will be the ones most humans will miss but other dogs will be able to pick apart relatively easily.
Dogs have better hearing than humans, so they pick up more sounds. Humans will miss a lot of these sounds, but some will be hard to miss, like howls and barking.
The most fun will be communicating through touch, be it brushing up against each other or laying next to each other.
By paying special attention to how dogs communicate with each other, the owner can tell a lot about the dog and his perception of the world.
Learning How to Communicate with Dogs
Communication requires some sort of bridge, some sort of way to cross thoughts, as it were.
For humans, it is just a matter of learning a new language, although that can months to get the basics down and lifetimes to master the nuances.
When it comes to dogs, it is just a matter of paying attention to what they are doing and when they do it.
Dogs will generally treat humans as the pack leader; this can make watching them with other dogs, with whom they tend to communicate the most, all sorts of educational. As such you should give them as many opportunities to play with other dogs as possible.
The Most Obvious of Doggie Tells
It is hard to miss most dog gestures, even for the most unexposed of humans. Most of us are familiar with what a wagging tail means or ears pressed to the skull, but that is just the beginning. Dogs have a pretty thorough body language, and it can actually be pretty hard to learn some of the nuances.
A dog depends on its vision in order to tell what other dogs are saying; they look at the facial expressions, general body movements, and head position of the other animal. This allows a pair of dogs to communicate over a distance. By combining all of that information, a dog can tell a lot about the other dog, from its status to how friendly it is.
Pooches Have Voices
Dogs have voices through their sense of touch and hearing.
They rely on their tactile sense in order to bond more effectively with other dogs, as well as their favorite humans. This is because they maintain some juvenile traits as adults, and the need for physical contact is one of those traits. The dog’s body is covered with hairs that are specifically designed to intercept any contact with another being; these hairs are why dogs enjoy a good head-scratching. Many dogs, though not all, love to be hugged.
These senses also allow dogs to better establish dominance and status between each other, allowing them to quickly get on to the next of their relationship.
They also have an actual voice, and can use that voice for a range of different vocalizations, ranging from growling to barking. They have a wide range of barks, allowing them to communicate anything from playfulness to danger. As dogs can create sounds that humans cannot hear as well as hear those sounds, this means that humans are out of the loop for parts of their conversation. This allows dogs to communicate without seeing each other, allowing for teamwork over a distance.
The Complications of Scent
The nose of a dog is arguably its most complicated organ, and it needs to be.
A dog’s body is covered with a variety of places that deliver its own pheromones. These pheromones can be used to deliver a wide variety of messages.
Their nose is remarkable in that it can smell all of those different messages and enable their brain to translate those smells while allowing it to maneuver through its world. The canine nose is sophisticated enough to learn how to detect blood sugar, cancer, and a variety of drugs; this makes it an ideal way for the dog to communicate with others.
How Do You Read a Dog’s Body Language?
Obviously, humans do not have the full range of communication abilities that other animals have. Because of this, we need to pay more attention to them and learn what we can as quickly as possible.
While we will no doubt miss almost all of the odors dogs give out and some of their vocalizations, we can nonetheless learn a lot of their tactile and body language.
Also, we need to remember to be consistent when we talk to the dogs; they can learn our language well enough to follow commands and anticipate what we need of them. It is just a matter of learning theirs while helping them learn ours.
Do Dogs Talk to Other Dogs? They Certainly Do
By paying attention to your dog, you can tell a lot about what the dog is thinking. While some of those thoughts are pretty obvious, such as with a wagging tail or lowered ears, some can require some translation, and it is your job is to translate those thoughts. By translating the movements and gestures of your dog into words you can better figure out the needs of your animal and thus how to better serve your animal.
The best human is not just someone who just feeds and cares for the basic needs of the dog, but can understand the needs of their dogs. Knowing their language is the best way to do it.