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How do dogs communicate with each other?

Dogs are social animals that use a multitude of signals to communicate with their peers. Understanding these signals is essential for owners to better manage interactions.
Team Jagger.Lewis
Date of publication
March 30, 2023

Dogs use a multitude of signals to communicate with their fellows. Identifying and understanding these signals is essential in order to better manage interactions.
The different means of communication

Body language is an essential means of communication for dogs. Posture, tail position, ear movements, and facial expressions are all signals that dogs use to convey emotions and intentions.

Dogs also use Vocalizations to communicate with each other. Barking, whining, growling, and howling are examples of canine vocalizations that convey information about a dog's emotional state and intentions.
For example, a bark may indicate excitement, fear, or alert, while a growl may signal a warning or discontent.

Dogs also communicate through pheromones, which are chemical substances produced by the body and detected by the sense of smell. Pheromones play an important role in communication between dogs, including indicating the presence of another dog, transmitting information about sex and reproductive status, and marking their territory.

Our 4-legged friends also use physical contacts to communicate with each other.
For example, they may lick each other's heads or ears to express affection or to establish social connections. Dogs can also sniff each other, especially around the anal and genital areas, to obtain information about the identity, gender, and social status of their congener.

Identify the signals

The queue of a dog can give information about its emotional state. A tail that is raised generally indicates excitement or confidence, while a tail that is low or between the legs can signal fear. Learn more.

The ears of a dog can also provide information about its mood. Erect ears often indicate attention or curiosity, while ears that are pressed against the head can mean fear or anxiety.

The posture of a dog reflects his level of trust and his intentions. A relaxed and confident dog will have an upright, relaxed posture. A threatening dog will adopt a rigid and tense posture, with bristly hair.

Understand the behaviors and attitudes of your dog in relation to its peers
  1. Careful observation of the communication signals of your dog and its congeners allows you to better understand their intentions and to react accordingly to avoid conflicts.

  2. Each dog is unique and their body language can vary depending on their personality, breed, and education. It is therefore important to take the time to observe and analyze the signals emitted by dogs.

  3. Dogs use calming signals to defuse tense situations and avoid conflicts. These signals include behaviors such as licking lips, yawning, looking away, or scratching. By recognizing these signals, you can intervene to calm the situation if necessary. Learn more about calming signals...

Understanding canine communication signals and how your dog behaves when dealing with other dogs is essential to promote harmonious interactions and avoid conflicts.

By carefully observing your dog's body signals, vocalizations, and behaviors, you can better decipher his intentions and emotions, and intervene appropriately to ensure the well-being and safety of all dogs involved.

Remember that socialization and education are key elements in developing your dog's communication skills and promoting positive encounters with other dogs.

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