Updated: Feb 10, 2020
Today a few words about the love for our four-legged friends and showing our feelings for him.
The best, dearest friend, pet and companion. We want to hug him, feed him and kiss him. Because this is how we show feelings, so where is the problem?
Together, we are a great duo, but until recently people were not aware of the dog's needs and communication. Today, cynologists and behaviourists help people understand dog speech and look at the world through their eyes. They want to make our four-legged relationship with us based on respect, understanding of needs and trust.
The ability to read the signals that the dog sends us is very important. These are both calming and threatening signals. If the guardian learns to read them and interpret them correctly, then half of the success in building relationships is his. But only when the guardian is able to react properly, help his dog get out of an uncomfortable situation and provide him with psychological comfort in stress - the foundation of the relationship is ready.
How to show love? And what dogs don't like?
The most important and to remember: every dog is different. The dog reacts differently to his guardian's attempts to show love, and he reacts differently when one of his guests does.
There are different circumstances and our relationship with those under our care should always be taken holistically.
And what is most important? Let’s not be paranoid. For example: I have a very close relationship with my dog and no problem if I want to hug him or cuddle my head in his neck, but when I see him move or lick his muzzle, I just finish showing love and do something that makes him happy.
Show love to your dog, but only as long as it is a pleasure for him!
Hugging - a test of strength.
For people, hugging is a sign of tenderness, support or love. Dogs don't like limiting their freedom, taking their space and we should respect that. They like to be able to leave at any time, so our persistent catching the dog, embracing him and cuddling him makes the quadruped feel uncomfortable. In dog body language and communication, an attempt to embrace each other in an attempt to threaten the opponent.
The first reaction of a dog to a disturbing situation is an attempt to leave, but due to the fact that he is just cuddled, there is no such possibility. Usually, then the dog will send a few signals indicating that he would like this situation to end: lick the muzzle, turn his head, smooth his forehead, slightly withdraw the base of the ears backwards. These are so-called calming signals. They mean nothing more than "I feel insecure and would like to leave." If we ignore them, we can expect snarling or exposure of the teeth, i.e. warning signals. When these methods fail, the dog thinks: "I felt insecure, then I warned, so I have to defend myself" and may present a signal threatening, for example, snapping teeth.
The most common cause of dog's aggression towards children is the child's lack of reaction to previous sedative signals, which is why it is so important to supervise the child's play with the dog and observe the quadruped.
Replace the hugging with something that makes the dog happy. This is a very individual issue, one dog likes stroking his chest, another scratching his rump. The guardian should know what caress relaxes his dog the most.
Patting the dog's head, neck, back. Test of strength, threatening signal.
And I'm not surprised at all! I hate patting my head!
There is no worse and more derogatory way of rewarding a dog than patting it in these very sensitive parts of the body.
In the body language of dogs, hitting one dog by the other in the shoulder or hip, putting his paws on his neck, biting his neck is nothing but threatening signals, a kind of test of strength. Therefore, although it is natural for us that when a strange dog comes, we want to stroke his head, let's not do it, because it can be read as being based on his freedom. We'd better scratch him in other places where it's pleasant for him.
Very often I see a guardian calling a dog and, as a reward, he leans over the dog and strokes his head.
What is the effect?
The pet comes in a retracted position, the tail is low, the body at a reduced height and being quite close to the guardian begins to slow down, and the very approach to the owner is already a real "slow-motion".
The dog sends a full spectrum of calming signals in response to our posture. The head is slightly lowered, and after patting by the owner quickly taken and the dog goes away.
In fact, we are sending the dog threatening signals: we are standing at the front of the running pet, leaning over him and patting his head. If we add a sharp tone of voice to this, then we have a full suite of reasons why "my dog does not come back to me!".
Watch your dogs, when you call them to each other on a walk and see if you stroke them in a whisper, it gives them real pleasure.
Calling for a dog, stand sideways, not the front.
Squat instead of leaning over the dog.
Pet him with a gentle hand movement along the sides, scratch at the rump or on the chest.
He will be very grateful to you for these small changes!
Looking into the eyes, a wide smile, approaching the dog from the front - threatening, grinning.
This issue is primarily about contact with a foreign dog. In species communication, the intense gaze of one dog into the eyes of another dog is a clear threatening signal. Raising lips and showing teeth also.
And what do passers-by usually do when they see the big dog they are afraid of? They look at him intensively. Let's not look at the alien dog. If we feel insecure, we can pass him lightly (reassuring signal) and do not make eye contact with him.
Often, however, small children run to the dog with joy to say hello and smile broadly. For many dogs this will not be a problem, but some more sensitive to communication and body language or fearful will try to leave. Due to the lack of such a possibility (leash), the dog will send a few calming signals, and if they do not work, they can simply go to threats.
Let's not punish the dog for that! He let me know that he felt uncomfortable, and we did not help him in this situation and we did not support him.
Approaching the dog's face and kissing - confrontation, begging for attention.
Bringing the face close to the dog's mouth can also make the dog feel insecure and this will also result from the dog's body language.
When it comes to kissing ... I often watch dogs running loose, so I have the opportunity to watch how one dog in a slightly withdrawn position licks the dog's muzzle with quick movements standing more confidently, more offensively. It is nothing more than a request for the attention of a defensive dog, directed to a dog more confident in a given situation.
Of course, you should always take into account the character of our pet and his whole attitude. Sometimes licking is just the salty taste of our face. It all depends on the circumstances.
Signals of discomfort, i.e. when the dog asks me for help?
Let's always try to observe the whole attitude of our dog. But the easiest ones to notice are: licking the muzzle, turning the head to the side, slightly moving away and withdrawing the base of the ears backwards.
Raising one paw in a standing dog (provided that it is not a dog displaying an animal), winking, yawning or the so-called "whale eye" (showing white in the eye) are also signals of stress and discomfort.
Let's react and stop the activity.
How to show a dog that he is important to us?
Take care of him and his mood!
Start reading his body language and respect his behaviour and needs.
Give him a very long walk, full of intelligent games and interaction with you.
Work with him, make him think. Pat and let him be close to you whenever he wants to. Let him be a dog: let him sniff freely, fall into the water, roll in the grass.
He will pay back for this.
So how do I know that a dog loves me?
Is he crazy happy and dancing the samba when you get home?
Does he watch you with tenderness and when you sit on the couch he puts his head on your lap?
Does he sleep when you stroke his head in a calm motion? And gives you his toys?
He wants to interact with you on walks and have fun, and when you call him wants to be close to you?
The tail walks like a pinwheel when you talk to it in a cheerful tone?
He loves you. Do not break it.