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Dog Communication: Learning to Read Body Language

Much like young children, dogs communicate primarily through body language. Knowing a dog’s physical cues can help pet owners ensure that their four-legged family members are comfortable and happy.

Many pet owners wonder why their dog won’t hold their gaze. Direct eye contact, even if it is meant in a loving way, is interpreted as a challenge or threat by canines, and many dogs choose not to hold their owner’s gaze because they do not want the eye contact misinterpreted. Owners should respect their dog’s need to look away. In addition, dogs can tell owners a lot about their feelings through their posture. If a dog looks stiff or rigid, they may be feeling uncomfortable and agitated. On the other hand, if a dog is being overly submissive, that may be a sign that the pet is nervous or anxious. Reading a dog’s body language can help owners identify what might be causing their animals to feel this way.

Licking is another common dog behavior, but excess licking is a sign of appeasement, which can be fear-based. If a dog is exhibiting excessive licking, scratching, submissive urination or other unusual behaviors, look around the pet’s environment and try to figure out what is making the pet feel anxious and look for ways to ease or overcome it.

For more information, contact Maddy Schell at Azani Pro Training, located at 3420 South Blvd., in Edmond, at 405-562-8708.

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