Canine Behaviour

Understanding canine behaviour is an important part of building a positive relationship with your dog. Your dog will exhibit certain behaviours to communicate with you, either in the hope of attention or to alert you that something is wrong.

Understanding your dog's body language is an important part of being able to communicate effectively with your dog.

Relaxed

The body is flexible, with eyes not fixed ahead but distracted, the head lowered and ears falling loose or softly. The back line is slightly arched or relaxed, with the tail dropping and showing early stages of side-to-side movement between the hind-legs.

Anticipated

The body is slightly straightened, the head lifted, with eyes checking and ears up, the back stiffened hindquarters slowly moving and tail up or swinging from side to side. From this position, a playful dog might bow down as an invitation. Vocal dogs will often play bow and play bark too.

Readiness

Your dog is in a state of high alert and can spring into action. The body is more rigid or tense, the eyes fixed and ready for contact, the head held up and forward, the fur around the shoulders raised, the black line stiffened, the ears up and alert and the tail rigidly health out and back.

Barking

Understanding the difference between an alert, attention and play bark, as well as identifying when your dog is warning you.

Alert Bark

This area makes up the shoulder and front legs. It consists of bones, muscles and tendons. The angles of the bones, combined with their length, dictate how efficiently a dog moves. The shoulder blade is held in place by muscles snd tendons that allow for good forward and back movement, but limited movement side to side. 

Play Bark

This area makes up the shoulder and front legs. It consists of bones, muscles and tendons. The angles of the bones, combined with their length, dictate how efficiently a dog moves. The shoulder blade is held in place by muscles snd tendons that allow for good forward and back movement, but limited movement side to side. 

Attention Bark

These are the bones, muscles and tendons that make up the hips and rear legs. The angles of the bones, combined with their length, dictate how efficiently a dog moves. The pelvic femur bones are held in place by a ball and socket offers a greater degree of rotation through the hip joint than the front assembly. 

Warning Growl

This area makes up the shoulder and front legs. It consists of bones, muscles and tendons. The angles of the bones, combined with their length, dictate how efficiently a dog moves. The shoulder blade is held in place by muscles snd tendons that allow for good forward and back movement, but limited movement side to side. 

Licking

When your dog attempts to lick your face, they are performing a canine greeting commonly observed in the wild. 

 

In nature, juveniles and the potentially alpha female will enthusiastically greet the returning pack members that have been out hunting.

 

The youngsters will try to lock a hunter-pack member around the neck, throat and mouth as a form of begging. Those returning pack members that have eaten will often use this interaction as a signal to regurgitate partially digested food. 

Licking should be seen as a submissive or begging plea, often used to gain access to the owner’s attention, perhaps in the hope of triggering an offer of food or  a walk.

Dogs express themselves based on a mixture of nature, their breed personality and what they have learned by being around people and other dogs. 

Through domestication, dogs have adapted to exhibit a combination of juvenile and adult behaviours throughout their lives, exemplified by their high level of playfulness evident at all ages. 

There are many reasons why a dog might show a lack of interest in playing games. If a dominant or possessive individual is challenging their owner, returning and giving back a ball would be a sign of submission.

Some dogs may not have learned how to play or may have developed negative associations with play through children or adults being too rough when they were young.

Playing

Sleeping

Most dogs are happy to share their owners night-time sleep pattern, but they will also sleep on and off during the daytime when their owners are away from home or occupied with work. Most dogs, will, however, adapt to other sleeping schedule if their owners have non-traditional work patterns. 

During the daytime or evenings, dogs appear to experience more of a shallow, REM, type sleep – a term used to describe the almost conscious period that preceded and follows deep, unconscious sleep. At these times, you may see your dog making running motions even though they are lying down on their side asleep and hear them letting out muffled barks. 

Puppies are just like babies and need plenty of sleep and rest between periods of activity. When your dog matures from middle to old age, you will notice their energy levels and staying power begin to diminish. 

Not all elderly dogs are infirm and many owners have reported their older dog gained renewed energy, especially when a puppy has joined the family.

Resources

Human Articles

Check out our latest articles with advice on puppies, training, behaviour and wellness. 

Designed to simplify  information about our favourite people; our canines. 

Human Guides

Download our latest guides with advice on canine first aid and home grooming. 

Designed to  simplify the most important information about taking care of our canines.

Canine Welfare

Read  the latest information on the Animal Welfare Code and canine care. 

Designed to simplify the information around canine welfare and well being. 

Puppy Training Guide

This handy guide for humans will give you advice on training your dog at home, as well as some tips to ensure it’s an enjoyable experience. 

 

From the very beginning they will need a single person who can be their teacher. Don’t shout when you call your puppy - they are sensitive to variations in your voice, and will understand different tones very well, such as short and sharp for commands, happy to congratulate them and severe for a reprimand.

 

Always use the same words for the same orders.

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