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How do dogs communicate?

Updated on February 6, 2013

The dog is baring its teeth, exuberantly jumping and continuously growling and barking. The action of the dog would naturally induce fear. It would not be surprising if the person “accosted” by the dog would scamper for cover or worse would try to fend the dog off with stones or sticks. The dog can be manifesting an aggressive behavior…or the dog simply wants to play. It would be ideal if the dog can talk so that we can easily understand what this furry friend wants to say.

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Dogs communicate with other dogs and with other animals. Whimpering, growling, barking and howling are various vocalizations used by dogs to communicate. A dog imparts its message through body language as well. The ears, eyes, tail and body are used by the dog to communicate although the tail is most commonly used. Notice how dogs can acknowledge the presence of another dog even at a distance simply by wagging the tail.  In the wild, wolves would howl their morning greetings to other members of the pack. Dogs have a rather unique way of communicating with each other. For instance, greeting is done by butt sniffing. Dogs are social animals. The alpha male manifests its position as the leader of the pack through much growling and baring of the teeth. The alpha dog has a rigid tail that is held high while other dogs lower in rank would show its being submissive by holding the tail low and between the legs.

Dogs form a strong bond with its human family. It is quite amusing to see how these animals try to communicate with its people. We humans communicate with each other by speaking and by using signals. Dogs communicate with humans through body language and through vocalization. A dog that wants to go out to do its business would follow the master around and whine. A dog that wants to have the bowl filled with water would incessantly bark. A dog that wants to play will pester its master…will growl and jump while continuously wag the tail. Licking is another form of communication. Dogs lick each other. They lick humans too. This action signifies affection.

Dogs can not speak like we humans do but for sure they can convey their message. Dogs have different ways of communicating with humans. Dog owners have to be patient and observant to be able to understand what the pet wants. Dogs are wonderful creatures…they make great additions to the family. But to be an ideal well behaved pet, owners must take time to understand the message being conveyed by the dog.

The Truth About Your Dog's Body Language

Dog Communications

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    • Lucey Knight profile image

      Lucey Knight 

      9 years ago from North Richland Hills, Texas

      Excellent Hub! This is very helpful for dog owners.

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