Understanding Your Dog's Body Language
It can be strange to think about understanding your dog's body language. However, it is important to understand that your dog communicates with more than just his bark! Learning what it means when your dog does certain things can be helpful no matter what training technique you choose to employ.
The first thing you should realize is that many dogs speak with their eyes. You can communicate a lot with your dog just with your eyes! This includes facial expressions, and you'll be surprised as to how much information you can gain, and how much information you can transmit, just by using your eyes and making eye contact.
Do keep in mind that in certain situations this type of eye contact may be read as being hostile. This can lead to aggressive behavior with your dog -- which leads to them having other problems. This is one great reason why it's important to study as much about your dog's body language (and how to use your own body language to communicate with your dog) as possible.
Realize that when dogs are in wild packs these signals are used to communicate with one another. Dogs try to do this with you as well. It is our fault as humans that we often do not recognize this, and the signals go ignored. Examples of signals might include yawning, sniffing, freezing, licking, turning their head, and other signals.
If you choose to recognize what these different signals mean, your relationship with your dog will be greatly enhanced. You'll be able to communicate effectively and meet your dogs needs and wants. Your dog might become frustrated if you cannot understand what the signals mean; which can inhibit your training progress. No matter what type of training you plan on doing, you need to be sure you know as much as possible about your dog's body language.
You also need to pay attention to your own body language. Do not act timid or out of control in any way. Dogs can read this, and it may cause some to try and establish their role as the alpha. This can lead to clashes in interest, and can prevent you and your dog from having a close relationship.
As helpful as reading your dog's body language is, it is surprising how few dog owners actually know anything about it. By taking steps toward understanding body language, you're well on your way to effectively communicating with your dog, and developing a long-lasting relationship.
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