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Understanding a dog’s body language

Nusrath Jahan

THE DAILY STAR – Dogs are among the most adorable, loving creatures whose company can cheer us in an instant. They know when we need a cuddle, when we are not feeling our best, or when exactly to become extra cute and distract us from work! But how well do we understand our canine friends?

Communication with pets can be tricky. Unlike us, they rely almost entirely on non-verbal signs to convey their feelings. So here are some important points to help you understand your dog better.

Dogs use their tails to project a wide variety of emotions, both positive and negative. The direction of wagging itself will tell you a lot.

A relaxed dog will hold their tail at a neutral position or move it slowly from side to side in a sweeping manner. When they are feeling happy, they usually do the helicopter where their tails move in quick circular motions. Dog owners often receive greetings this way.

The tail also lets you know when your dog is feeling distressed. A raised tail above the spine indicates that something has caught the dog’s attention and it is now alert. A stiff tail with bared teeth and growling could definitely mean trouble.

Dogs try to make themselves appear small by tucking their tails between their legs when they are feeling scared. You may also see their tails pointed low towards the ground in a submissive manner when they are stressed.

Much like humans, dogs yawn when they are tired or sleepy. However, excessive yawning hints at something else; your dog is feeling threatened.

When dogs feel anxious by a person or other animals, they will yawn and look away. Also known as the calming signal, it is a dogs’ way of saying that they feel threatened but are not going to attack.

We’ve all heard of ‘puppy dog eyes’, right? Well it’s more than a metaphor for dogs.

Dogs will look at you with soft, affectionate eyes to tell you that they need some love.

According to experts, practicing eye contact with pups helps strengthen your bond with them considerably. Remember to do it right though.

Have you ever seen two dogs locked in a stare-down? Dogs are not a fan of long eye contacts. They are found staring hard when they are trying to establish dominance over something.

On the contrary, they will avoid eye contact and pointedly look away when they are feeling stressed.

Just when you thought pups could not get any cuter, they smile. And this one actually has a lot to do with you!

Smiling is an adaptive facial expression that dogs often pick up from their owners. Spending time with them, communicating regularly, and making the dog included in your life will bring out the best smile from them.

Go ahead! Look at your dog, smile at him, some belly rubs maybe, and watch their tail do the helicopter!

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