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Treat him/her as you would hope someone treated you if you were only able to communicate using non-verbal cues.. Consider surroundings/situations, speak to him/her as you would any human (may sound crazy to some people, BUT in my opinion, if you arent speaking to them verbally (regardless if they can reply, OR not) that would be #1 issue.. Remember they sense EVERYTHING in their surroundings (and in yours), and, although they cant speak using “words”, they understand our words, our emotions.. They depend on non-verbal communications as a way for them to survive.. Always speaking to them as you would if a human was next to you, as you would if bathing a human, OR if preparing food for a human, for example, you are strengthening your bond, trust, decreasing loneliness, and including your furry child as part of your family.. Take daily quality time to spend with them with just the two of you, focus on their fur, postures, ears, eyes, mouth, positions, tail, how close they are to you.. After awhile, you will clearly be able to see the differences in their behaviors with you, compared to how they act around another person, OR a stranger, OR another animal, etc.. First, IF you havent already, make sure you research general dog care and “normal” behaviors, then any breed-specific care and behaviors (if applicable).. And anyone interacting with any of your pets should be educated in general care and behaviors..

Some behaviors—

1. Tilting Head to One Side— Uncertain about something interested in. OR Waiting for information, especially from trainer. OR listening to a sound and accurately determine source.

2. Shaking Head— Relieved from tension. OR after being aggressive or alert. OR was eagerly waiting for something.

3. Yawning— Under stress or facing threat to help ease pressure and tension. OR confused, tired, or threatened. OR meeting other canines.

4. Closing Mouth or Opening Slightly— Relaxed and happy.

IF mouth closed and pulled back= Stressed, frightened, submissive, or pain. Some can have mouths pulled back and be content. Have to carefully monitor to determine exact cause of behavior.
5. Licking Lips— Stressed or uncertain. OR sexually active.

If you see licking lips of other dogs, know NOT ready to make friends with them. Common with puppies.
6. Showing Teeth and Biting— Aggressive or showing dominance. *Be very careful when showing teeth because could bite you.

IF accompanied by snarling and muzzle-wrinkling, understand very angry. DO NOT come close to any dog showing this behavior.
7. Panting— Overheating or heatstroke. Trying to cool down and how they regulate body temperature. OR to relieve pain or stress.

8. Barking and Yelping— Loudly and rapidly= Acting out of aggression or sensed danger. Short and soft= Friendly or wants to play. IF sudden and/OR sharp yelp= know in pain.

9. Growling— Low or medium growl with or without bark= Protective, territorial, or threatened and can become aggressive and attack people or other animals. Soft growl= Alert, anxious, contented, or playful mood.

10. Howling— Long= Feeling lonely. OR announcing their presence to other canines or humans. OR to mimic other sounds. Short howl= Satisfied or excited. OR to mimic other sounds.

11. Whining and Whimpering— Low, short whine or whimper= Excited, anxious, or submissive. OR asking for attention. Prolonged whine or whimper= Uncomfortable or in pain. OR asking for attention.

12. Opening Eyes and Staring— Eyes wide-open= Alert. Intense stare accompanied by narrowing eyes= Trying to be dominant or threatening.

IF shows whites of eyes= Threatened and wants to attack.
IF looks away after short stare= polite or submissive. OR you are carrying treats or food. Any kind of eye blinking= love or playfulness.
13. Pricking Ears— Ears forward or up= Curious, aggressive, or wants to play or chase. IF ears flat and close to head= Scared or insecure. IF ears apart but not flat= Sad or unsure.

14. Flicking Ears— Simply listening. Most flick ears when unfamiliar sound, and flicking ears forward and backward, trying to catch sound clearly.

15. Wrinkling Muzzle— Angry or aggressive.

IF showing teeth and snarls while wrinkling muzzle= Warning and can attack anytime. Stop thing causing behavior and move away to avoid being attacked.
16. Sniffing Air— Sensed danger or tracking threat or prey, and doesn’t bark, growl, or howl to avoid alerting target. OR sniffing other dogs or humans to see if they can become friends..

17. Exposing Belly— Showing respect or being playful. Can encourage this behavior by rubbing belly. OR when being attacked by other animals.

18. Raising Hackles— Threatened, insecure, angry, or afraid. Alert and aggressive and can attack any time.

*When he/she meeting other dogs, can raise hackles and stand tall to defend self in case attacked by other canines.
19. Raising Paws— Asking for something or wants to play. Common with younger dogs. OR Puppy raises paws and touches mother when wanting to nurse. IF any dog raising paws to touch you, know he/she loves you.

20. Digging— Bury or uncover valuables. Normal to dig, should not worry. OR to catch small animals hiding. OR create suitable resting places for their young .

21. Crouching— Frightened, nervous, insecure, or preparing to catch another animal. OR showing submission. OR wanting to play.

22. Mounting or Humping— IF “polite”= Seeking attention or asking for treats. IF humping objects in presence of other dogs= Under stress. OR mounting other dogs showing dominance.

23. Bowing— Wants to play. Some swing hips and wag tails emphasizing needing to play. (Known as “Play Bow”).

24. Stretching— Showing love or playfulness. OR happy. (Usually stretches with front or rear of body close to ground).

25. Freezing and Leaning Forward— Feeling threatened, dominant, or challenged.

Common when interrupted while eating. Can be accompanied by snarling and wagging tail. Leave any dog alone showing this behavior to avoid being attacked.
26. Walking in Circles Before Lying Down— Looking for most comfortable place to rest. OR having discomfort forcing to find best way without hurting.

27. Pacing— Running in circle around you= Playful and wanting you to join playing.

IF pacing frequently= Nervous, excited, or bored.. Important to remember will run after other animals (OR humans) regardless IF bored or excited.
28. Licking Genitals— Cleaning.

IF licking excessively= Bored OR has urinary tract infection. Most urinary tract infections are itchy and cause genital discharge and genital-licking behavior.
29. Wagging Tail— Showing friendliness or happiness. IF wags rapidly while holding it down= Submissiveness. IF slowly wags tail keeping in natural position= Alert or wants to play.

IF slowly wagging tail holding it down= Confused, sad, or NOT well. IF slowly wagging while holding high= Excited or confident.
30. Holding Tail Straight— Confident, aroused, or excited. OR meeting other canines or other animals. IF upright tail slightly shaking= Facing a challenge.

IF tail level with body= Content, happy, OR relaxed.. IF holding tail low with no movement= Alertness or insecurity.

31. Tucking Tail Between Legs— IF holds tail between legs= Afraid, nervous, worried, or under stress. OR when meeting other dominant animals, OR when being punished. IF holds tail tightly against belly= Extremely scared or submissive. OR when meeting other dominant animals, OR when being punished.

Some behaviors are natural, meaning little you can do to correct. Need to respond accordingly. IF some behaviors annoying, can nicely try training to stop/decrease/prevent some. Remember positive rewarding/praising/attention/quality time a MUST for any dog daily, etc.. helps lessen OR prevent negative behaviors.. :)
Let me know in the comments, how you communicate with your dog.

· Registered
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Dogs can't speak our language with their mouths, but they do try to let us know what they're feeling. Commonly this is done through body language, such as appeasement gestures that happens before or during greetings; therefore, you should not fear your dog. Although to many, this behavior may seem some what strange, there are several reasons why dog stretching in front of me is a natural dog behavior.
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