Since our dogs are not able to communicate with words, we must pay close attention to their body language and behaviors. Dogs rely on their nonverbal body language to convey what they want to humans. It is great to have wisdom from the canine expert Rick Allen about dog behavior and training.
When we, as their owners, pay attention to these behaviors and react accordingly, we will better understand what our dogs want. Let’s look at some common dog behaviors as well as a few basic ways you can train your best friend.
Understanding Dog Behaviors
While tail wagging commonly conveys happiness and excitement in a dog, it can also mean something else. It’s important to look at how fast your dog wags its tail as well as what position it is in. When they wag faster, they are typically happier and more excited over something. However, this type of wagging action could also mean that they are on alert about something. Recent studies have shown that when a dog feels more positive, they usually wag their tails more towards the right. A wag to the left often means they feel faced with something negative.
Additionally, a tail held high means your dog is confident and assertive. Tails held tucked between the legs convey stress, fear, and sadness.
How your dog stands can show you a lot about their current mood. For example, if your dog is pushing their weight slightly forward, this means that something has probably piqued their interest. A cowering dog is a dog that is scared and stressed. It is also a sign that they are trying to make themselves look small and less threatening. A dog that exposes his belly in a stressful situation means they are under a lot of anxiety. However, if your dog is relaxed and comfortable in his surroundings, he may show his belly as a sign of happiness and contentment. It’s also a way to beg for belly rubs!
Another type of body language dogs often display is known as the “play bow.” When your dog puts his behind in the air and his chest on the ground, he is looking to initiate playtime with you or another dog.
One confusing facial expression for dogs is smiling. In some cases, a smiling dog that displays its front teeth is a sign of submission and happiness. When your dog is smiling and wiggling around, this means they are happy. However, a dog baring his teeth can also be a sign of aggression. In most cases, this is accompanied by a menacing growl, so you will likely realize that something is wrong when you see it happening.
Dogs usually lick their lips for two specific reasons. The first is one we are all-too familiar with- satisfaction after a meal! Your dog will lick his lips after eating and drinking, just like we do. However, dogs often lick their lips when they are feeling stressed and anxious. It’s not always easy to catch as they often do it quickly, but pay attention to your current surroundings if you notice your pup doing it when they haven’t been eating. It may signal some discomfort or distress that you’ll want to alleviate.
Basic Ways To Train Your Dog
Crate training is one of the best ways to potty train your dog. However, there are plenty of other benefits to crate training that you will love once your dog gets used to their crate. For example, you’ll be able to leave him alone for a few hours without having to worry about your house being destroyed, and you’ll also have a safe place to keep your dog in your vehicle when you have to go to the vet.
Make sure the crate you choose is big enough for your dog to move around in but not too big that they can use a corner for their toilet. To begin training them to use a crate, put their dog bed and some toys inside. Throw a couple of treats in to lure him in. Close the door and wait a couple of minutes. Open the door only when your dog has stayed quiet for a couple of minutes. You can then start extending the amount of time that you leave your pup in the crate, as long as they aren’t crying and whining to come out.
Dog Training Collar
Your dog should be 100% comfortable with wearing a collar. He’ll need to be on a leash when you go outdoors, so a comfortable dog training collar will be your best bet. Some of the more popular dog training collars are:
• Choke Chains
• Shock Collars
• Prong Collars
• Anti-Bark Collars
• Invisible Fence Collars
Training collars are great for reinforcing positive behaviors while also providing instant negative feedback when your dog does something he isn’t supposed to do. Make sure you choose the right collar for your breed, as there are many different types and brands to choose from. Take your time when you use a dog training collar on your pup. A dog training collar can supplement your positive reinforcement tactics.
When you bring home a puppy or a dog that still makes messes in the house, you’ll want to start reinforcing going outside immediately. Start by watching for signs that they need to use the bathroom. In puppies, you must be diligent. Puppies have small, weaker bladders and may need to go out often. A sign that they need to go may be sniffing, pacing, whining, and circling. As soon as you notice this, take them outside. It’s okay if you catch them in the act. If this happens, tell them “no” firmly and then carry them outside to a spot. Always praise your puppy or older dog when they do go where they are supposed to. Don’t punish a dog if you find a mess after they have done it. Dogs won’t associate the punishment with the act and will only be confused and scared. You should also have a keyword for your dog, such as “outside” or “potty” to use while you are training him.
When it comes to training your dog, remember to have plenty of treats on hand as a reward. Positive reinforcement works much better than negative reinforcement, and you’ll always want to be patient with your dog while you are training them. In a bit of time, you’ll have a dog that knows every command and trick you want them to!