Top 10 Signals Your Dog Needs You to Know

Learning how to read and understand what your dog is saying is crucial to building a stronger bond with your dog. Understanding what your dog has to say doesn't take any mystical powers or magic. All it takes is observation skills and practice.

We have pulled together a quick list of the top 10 signals a dog will give when he is feeling threatened, conflicted and unsafe. By learning these calming signals, you can adjust what you are doing with your dog or remove him from the situation that is causing him to feel this way.

1. Yawning. This is an easy signal for you to observe and one you might think means your dog is tired. But a yawn usually says that your dog is uneasy and in conflict about a situation. It is one of the first signs he shows when he is under stress. If you ask your dog to do something, and she yawns, she isn't bored but is probably not happy with what you are asking her to do. It is making her uncomfortable. This is her way of calming you.

2. Walking Slowly Away. If your dog freezes or his movements slow down considerably, he is sending out a calming signal.

3. Lip-licking. You have to really watch for this because it is so quick. But once you catch on to it, you will be able to catch glimpses of it when your dog is at the vet's or she sees another dog approaching or other stressful situation. She is not feeling very confident at the moment.

4. Moving their eyes. Watch your dog avert his eyes when approached by another dog. Please don't ever stare a strange dog or any dog in the face. It could be perceived as confrontational and cause stress overload in a dog. Avert your eyes. Now your speaking dog!

5. What's that smell? If your dog suddenly starts sniffing the floor he is giving out a calming signal.

6. Turning his head. Slightly turning his head means your dog is giving you a signal that could be saying, "Be careful because I'm not sure what you want is going to be a good thing."

7. Sitting down. Your dog may sit down if he feels stressed or out of sorts. You can use this signal to help calm a stressed out dog. Sit down yourself, and if he is really stressed out try sitting with your back to him. If he is nervous around friends that visit, have them sit down too. They can also try out a yawn, and turn their heads away from him, if he is really afraid of strangers.

8. Play Bow. If your dog looks like she is bowing and isn't moving back and forth as if she is trying to engage you or another dog into a play session, she is probably using a calming signal. You can see her do this with something she isn't familiar with or is unsure of such as another animal. Or she could be letting them know that she is not going to hurt them.

9. Wagging tail. This does not always mean your little princess is a happy camper. If she is crawling on her stomach, whimpering, with her tail going a mile a minute, she is trying to calm you. She is nervous.

10. Scratching. This signal doesn't always mean your dog has an itch. A dog scratches himself as a calming measure, too.

What is your dog saying to you today?


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