Reading Your Dog's Body Language
Reading Your Dog's Body Language

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Reading Your Dog's Body Language

Dogs use a range of sounds to communicate with us and each other. Just as important is the body language they use to tell us how they feel or what they need. How well do you know your pooch’s unspoken cues? Read on to find out.

 

 

Why do dogs stare?

Dogs often stare at their owners because they love them. They want to make sure you’re okay or find clues for what you’ll do next — like making sure you’re not going for a car ride without them.

We love it when dogs do this, too, which has led to this trait being even more prominent. 

Opens a new windowDr. James Serpell, BSc, PhD, Professor of Humane Ethics & Animal Welfare at University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, explains: “We've selected dogs for this behavior. Humans love that dogs look up at them in admiration, intense loyalty. One frequent observation researchers have made is that people who handle wild dogs ... they don't look their handlers in the eye like domesticated dogs do.”

 

 

 

Why do dogs tilt their heads?

Dogs have great hearing. High-frequency sounds that humans can’t hear are especially interesting to them. Head-tilting helps them track down the source. Owners find these head tilts super cute and often reward this behavior, which, of course, makes them do it more.

 

 

Why do dogs yawn?

Dogs yawn when they’re tired, but it’s also a possible sign they’re stressed, impatient or frustrated — like when they’re in the vet’s office, or when you won’t throw that ball you’re holding already!

 

 

Why do dogs sit on your feet?

In a recent IAMS poll,* 90% of dog owners said their pet sits or lays on their feet and 100% of dogs said they love their owners. Dogs are very social creatures and this is a way for them to connect and be close to you. Plus, it keeps your feet warm.

 

 

Why do dogs raise their hair?

Often called “raised hackles,” dogs do this when they’re nervous, threatened or showing aggression. It’s an adaptation from their wild days of attempting to make themselves look bigger.
 

 

Opens a new window Dr. Tammie King, Applied Behavior Technical Leader at Waltham Petcare Science Institute, offered this insight to keep in mind: “What’s important when talking about a dog’s body language is to not take one thing in isolation. You’re at risk of misinterpreting what the dog is trying to say to you. Context is everything.”
 

 

So be sure to pay attention to what your dog isn’t saying to keep them healthy and happy. Serving them 

Opens a new windowIAMS dog food every day will certainly help.
 

 

*Surveyed U.S. dog owners, age 18+ 

Sample Size: n=201 

Fielded May 8 to May 10, 2020

Reading Your Dog's Body Language
Reading Your Dog's Body Language
Reading Your Dog's Body Language
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    lost dog escaping a yard

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    Could Your Dog Escape Your Yard? Here’s How to Secure It

    For some dogs, a simple fence isn’t enough to keep them in the yard. Maybe you’ve got a little escape artist that’s too smart for their own good. Maybe you’re raising a brave explorer who loves to get lost. Or maybe you’ve been unlucky enough to have your dog stolen from their own backyard. Creating a safe and secure space to keep your pet can be a challenge, but we’re here to help. Understanding the common reasons dogs get out and what you can do to prevent it from happening goes a long way toward keeping your furry friend safe.

     

     

    Why Does Your Dog Want to Escape?

    Securing your yard starts with understanding the impulses that drive your dog to see what’s beyond your property. Spaying or neutering is an important first step in curbing a dog’s desire to roam, but there may be other factors at play. Creating a safe yard for a lonely Labrador in search of a friend is an entirely different exercise than securing a burrow-happy beagle on the hunt for a squirrel. We’d recommend trying to learn as much as you can about your dog’s breed and underlying instincts. The most common reasons dogs try to escape are:
     

    • Feeling socially isolated
    • Lack of stimulation (think toys)
    • Desire to escape something that scares them, like thunder
       

    Countering these behaviors starts with understanding which one is at the heart of your dog’s desire to break free. Once you’ve got a theory of what’s motivating your pup, it’s time to give your safety measures a second look.

     

     

    How to Keep Your Dog Safe and Secure in Your Yard

    Microchip Your Dog and Scan Their Nose

    If your dog is committed to getting out, your most useful tool will be the ability to track and locate them wherever they’re found. There are a huge variety of products and services designed to help you keep your dog safe, but the most important thing you can have is a plan. You’ve most likely heard of GPS tracking chips that can be implanted in your pet, but you may not know that you can also scan their nose. Through a new app called NOSEiD, you can capture your dog’s unique nose print, which will give whoever finds them a faster, simpler way of reuniting the two of you. It’s that easy! Just download the app, call your pup over and start scanning.

     

     

    The Best Defense Is a Good … Fence

    Even though they’re not technologically impressive, a sturdy wooden or metal fence still plays an important part in protecting your dog while they’re in your yard. Not only does it keep your dog from wandering, it also keeps unwanted animals and people away from your dog’s space. If your dog can leap over it, you’ll obviously need to raise the height, or you can add an overhang that makes it harder to clear. You might also consider planting some shrubs along the inside of the fence to discourage jumping. If your dog is burrowing beneath your fence, consider adding a barrier beneath it or putting a bumper collar on them, which makes it harder to squeeze into small spaces.
     

    If you have a particularly territorial dog, you may want to cover any open spots in your fence that your dog might spy adversaries through. A solid fence may help them feel safe and diminish their need to patrol their surroundings.
     

    When it comes to electric fences, using one successfully depends on your dog’s personality. If your dog has recently been ignoring the electric fence, you may want to consider retraining them or investing in a physical barrier.

     

     

    Make “Yard” Mean “Yay!”

    Making your yard a dog-friendly and entertaining space is a huge part of keeping your dog safe at home. With enough toys, space to burn energy and ideally a friend to play with, your dog won’t have any reason to see if the grass is greener elsewhere. A few popular dog-pleasers you may want to provide are:
     

    • A bit of shelter or shade
    • A source of water
    • A rotating lineup of toys
    • Their favorite playmate (you)

     

     

    Use Your Yard Wisely

    Last, but not least, if you leave your dog unattended for a long period of time in your yard, there’s a good chance they will get bored and look for a way to burn off some energy. To prevent them from getting mischievous, limit the amount of time they’re out on their own, and check in frequently. Also, for dogs with separation anxiety or that may be afraid of loud noises, your presence will help keep them calm and close to home.
     

    With your dog chipped or their nose scanned, you’ll always have an option in the event that your dog strikes out on their own. Beyond that, understand what makes your dog unique and check your yard’s safety features regularly for holes or weak points. As usual, a little preparation now can save you a ton of time and energy in the long run.

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