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The Language of Dogs

What is your dog actually telling you?

I am thirsty, are you going to give me some water?

Dogs really are Man's Best Friend indeed, but what is your dog really telling you? For some people, the dog in the house is just a furry beast who wanders the rooms hoping to get attention from their master, another person in the house, or if they don't get it at home, they're going to get it somewhere. Most people don't realize how much they have feelings just as anyone does, and that is saying a mouthful. When your dog isn't getting enough attention—depending on the breed—they're either going to lay low or pester you endlessly. They would not be as close to you unless you learn to bond with them. Treat your dog like your children, they should be much as part of the family as everyone else. And believe it or not, they are living creatures.

Most people do not have the ability to connect or communicate with the animal world like some of us do. It takes a great deal of experience to realize what they're saying by wagging their tail to a small or a sharp bark indicating to you that something that may be important. When your dog sits at your feet at the dinner table, perhaps he or she is hungry or they may want attention from you. One of these varies according to how your canine companion acts at the dinner table, outside, in the bedroom, or in your living room. Take them outside for fresh air. They will let you know if it's time to run around. Make sure it isn't too cold or too hot, even dogs cannot take the stale hot air, nor the frigid winds either, so don't assume these super canines with fur can withstand that. You want to make sure the weather is fine by listening to the radio or watching for updates before having an adventure with your hound.

A dog's emotions can often be confusing at first, especially to newcomers who have no idea when dogs lower their ears or perk them up. Wagging of the tail is a sign they're excited, but it can be something else entirely—similar to a human's body signals. Barking can be a sign depending on the pitch from high to low frequencies. A loud bark indicates there may be a problem or they're just being annoying. If your dog is one of those loud barkers that wake up everyone in the neighborhood there could be an issue in that, but they might be telling you that there is an intruder for all you know, so never assume anything until you know what it is. Better to be safe than sorry, right?

Every dog has a personality like humans do. Think of them as if you're speaking to anyone, be it your child, your significant other, or even another person, because they have rights too—just like all of us do! Remember, if God made you then, therefore, he also made creatures big and small alike, so consider them as living organisms that need attention. Even plants deserve it (ask a farmer if you don't believe me).

Some will think that animals like dogs are only animals, and therefore, they don't think like human beings do. I've dealt with those who believe they're not as smart either, but they are pulling their own leg. In fact, they may be smarter than all of us put together. Picture a police officer on the K-9 unit who specializes in canines, a division that considers them to be very intelligent indeed, and can answer the question for us whether or not dogs have high intelligence. If trained well, a German Shepard can track objects or a person's scent. This is why they are necessary and perfect for the job. When the German Shepard barks the officer responds by looking towards whatever their furry companion may have spotted.

So it takes dedication, experience, and a bond with your dog to understand what they're trying to tell you. Don't ignore warning signs either cause they are your best chances at saving your hide down the road. And if you truly believe your canine buddy is as stupid as you believe, guess again, they will probably prove you wrong. You'll see it soon enough.

Also, do not put your dog outside if it's that cold! Unless you're equipped with thermal blankets or other warm materials for your dog, I suggest you think it all the way through, because they feel your same pain of freezing to the bone. When they're cold, you'll know it, loud and clear. Take them inside or at least have a dog house available that is warm for them to stay cozy. If you don't want them in the house, that's fine, some people prefer to keep them outside while others in. Everyone has a preference including dog owners.

Panting is a sign they are trying to cool off. Unlike us, they cannot sweat, which tells you they are not super hounds, so even they don't like the intense heat either. When tired, they will yawn or make a whimpering noise, sometimes the whimpering could also indicate sadness as well as pain. Observe other signals, such as the tail between its legs symbolizing submission. Unless they are growling and showing some teeth, the tail tucked between its legs indicates they are unhappy or angry with you.

When your dog walks up to you, tail wagging vigorously, it's a sign that he wants to play with you or how glad he is to see you. Make sure you research your dog's breed to give you a clear understanding of what your dog wants, needs, and how to care for it with proper care for them.

If they are howling, especially when night falls, then they are probably lonely, or just talking to a neighboring dog in the area who isn't too far. That is, if they are outside, rather than inside of the house.

Next Time in "A Doggy World"

What is the best age to adopt a dog?

Read next: Owning a Cat
Leah Mays
Leah Mays


I am from Nashville, TN and have always loved games, played them at a very young age. I've also written many stories pertaining to folklore. I've moderated several storylines in the past so my writing needs a little brushing up.

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The Language of Dogs
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Owning a Cat