What is your dog thinking about? – Part 4

Dogs are extraordinarily astute, intelligent and sensitive creatures. They can be trained to sniff out drugs, bombs, missing people and are often used in dangerous situations. The average dog owner is unlikely to have such a well-trained dog, yet canine companions still have an intrinsic intelligence which can be understood by owners and honed.

It takes some time to be able to read what your dog is thinking. It has nothing to do with any kind of psychic connection, but rather habit. You and your dog get into a routine, and you begin to notice the kind of behavior he displays in different situations. You learn how the dog behaves, he learns how you react to such behavior, and then decides whether this is going to earn him a treat or a smacked bottom, and acts accordingly!

Since a dog can’t talk (barking doesn’t count!) there are physical indicators as to how he is feeling. A dog’s tail is one such indicator. If a dog is wagging his tail, it usually means he is a happy puppy. If his tail is between his legs, then he is scared, whilst if it is erect he may well be spoiling for a fight. Some dogs have a docked tail, which renders such reading of tail movement useless. However, it is still possible to read a dog’s general demeanor. If he is listless, and reluctant to move around, he might be ill. If his hackles are up, and he has a glint in his eye, he may be about to pounce on another dog.

A vocal dog may also help you to identify what your dog is thinking. If he is growling at you or at a dog, he clearly isn’t happy. Perhaps he’s possessive of his toy, perhaps he’s scared, or perhaps he wants to fight. If a dog is barking, it may be to let you know that there’s someone at the door, that he wants to be let out, or that he’s excited to see you. It is up to you to be able to read the situation and establish which it is.

It is possible to tell what your dog is thinking, but it takes time, and requires patience and a willingness to learn all of the cues being given to you by your dog.

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