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Woof Wednesday: Say WHAT?

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Blk poodle w-owner

What's the dog saying?

Do you speak “dog?”

Many of us get by without truly understanding what all the woofs and wags mean. We make do for two main reasons:

  1. Dogs are so smart they learn to understand us.
  2. Dogs forgive human stupidity.

Still, there are many problems caused by miscommunications. Some of ’em can get you bit–or your dog labeled “dangerous” or worse–sentenced to death.

Sammy the Westie

A raised paw means...what?

Dogs really have done it to themselves. They’ve become so loveable, and so attentive and willing to please, that humans begin assuming they’re just tiny ‘people’ in fur coats. (Never mind that’s incredibly politically incorrect and offensive…) Hey, I’m guilty, too. Calling pets “fur-kids” makes it easy to slip over that invisible line and hold them to human standards instead of–well–letting ’em be dogs.

People are primates. We’re touchy-feely, we want to hug and touch, and don’t always understand why our dogs don’t always welcome such things. And when the dog throws us all kinds of conciliatory gestures–ears down, cutting eyes sideways, wagging and slinking with a goofy grin in that “aw shucks” expression–we assume they’re guilty or apologizing for something.

Because that’s what a HUMAN would do–act guilty. And NO, “wagging my tail” is not how I threw out my back. Harumph.

min bull terrier

Another raised paw--mean the same thing?

Anyway, the pet owner in this Ask Amy installment assumed the pawing dog was apologizing. Was that right?

What do all those tail wags mean–that he’s friendly right? Yes…and no. Tail talk has many meanings. So do woofs, whines, growls and howls. Even fluffed fur can speak volumes and oh-dear-heaven, don’t get me started on Pee-Mail! (or is that pee-male, LOL!). So what do you think “pawing” might mean? Here’s a hint–it’s part of the peace-keeper pooch repertoire!

What else does your dog do that makes him look guilty? I know lots of dog-savvy folks read this blog, so what am I missing? Please add more info in the comments and we’ll make this installment super-share-able!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? I’m nearly ready to record a bunch of new ones, so be sure to get your requests in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: Dog Communication and Pet Connection

 magic w red roses

This past Friday, the blog covered cat talk, with 12 ways cats communicate over at Paw Nation. It’s only fair that dogs get equal time, don’t you think? After all, when our pets try to talk to us, they’re doing more than a “Monday mention” and literally throw their whole body into the effort. (By the way, that’s my Magical-dawg in the picture—can you tell what he’s “saying?”)

People who love dogs want to understand canine communication. But growls mixed with tail wags can be confusing. Though people rely on words, dog talk combines vocalizations, body language and smells. It goes beyond woofs and wags. Here are 12 ways your dog tells you what he thinks.

Thanks so much to Red Room’s Gina Misiroglu, my connection with the kitty and doggy people at Paw Nation. She’s been sniffing out opportunities to send readers to Red Room and its authors—paws-itively awesome! 

Another Monday Mention shout out goes to my friends over at Pet Connection—there’s a whole team that offers fantastic pet care and animal news including my buddy and co-author Dr. Marty Becker and colleagues Gina Spadafori, Kim Thornton, Arden More, Christie Keith…a whole slew of ‘em! I know that I’ll miss some…so just go over and check out the blog and see for yourself!

Purrs & Wags,

amy

To stay up to date on all the latest cat-egorical or dog-matic content, subscribe to this blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!