Ask any devoted dog owner and she’ll tell you that dogs definitely express emotions. The potential problem is when we use human emotions and experiences to decode what a dog is trying to say. Here are five behaviors and the meanings behind them:
- Play Bow. Most people recognize this; the dog with his front legs on the ground and his butt up in the air. This is a relaxed dog telling another dog (or his human) that everything is okay and he wants to play.
- Sniffing. All dogs sniff, of course, because that is a major way they decode the world. But when you’re taking your dog for a walk and you encounter another dog, sniffing is a way to tell the other dog that everything is okay and they just want to pass.
- Sitting. Sometimes dogs seem to sit at the most inopportune times. Sitting is not always just a way for them to rest, it also is a mechanism for the dog to cope with an overwhelming situation.
- Go Between. Sometimes two dogs start to play a little too aggressively and another dog that is present may walk in between the two dogs to diffuse the situation. Acting as the go-between helps the two playing dogs to take a step back and resume playing in a more gentle way.
- Arc. Canine etiquette dictates that meetings take place from the side rather than head on. This allows the dogs an opportunity to sniff each other first. You should always keep this in mind if you encounter another dog on your walk or in social situations. Give them space and allow them to meet on their own terms.
Keep these behaviors in mind when trying to decipher what your pet is trying to say and how they are feeling.