All pet parents know when their dog wants attention. But do we really know what they’re trying to say to us? We can’t wait to share this with you!
Dogs use more than just their barks to communicate; they use their body movement and other behaviours to convey messages to us. You’d be surprised to know that there are 19 such gestural signals that have been identified by a group of researchers from the School of Environment and Life Sciences, United Kingdom, Salford.
These scientists presented their findings in a study published in the Animal Cognition Journal. Their research studied and analysed around 242 videos of 37 dogs, going about their daily routine interacting with their humans.
The experts found that the dogs used similar gestures to communicate what they wanted. Out of 49 potential gestures, they were able to identify and define 19 gestural signals.
Messages such as wanting food, were shown through a variety of signals, while others were shown through apparent methods. Each dog used different gestures to ask for identical things, however, each one remained steady with their own signals. To their amazement, most of the messages implied “scratch me” and not “feed me.”
Here are some ruff translations on what dogs are trying to express based on their gestures-
Play with me
Wriggling their body under a person or object
Pawing at an object or toy
Diving headfirst under a person or object
Briefly touching a person with their paw
Putting a paw on you and licking the muzzle at the same time
Tossing a toy forward
Looking between you and the bowl or the feeding place from time to time
Using the snout to move your hand towards its body
Standing upright on the hind legs
Let’s go outside
Putting the front paws on you or an object and looking towards the door
Excitedly jumping in the same place
Rubbing the head while leaning against you
Gently nudging your hand with the snout
Lying sideways and lifting a back leg
Placing a paw on you
Licking your hand or an object
Short shuffle sounds on the floor while rolling over
Rolling over in front of you
A mild nip on your arm
At least now we know what we thought was regular dog behaviour, is in fact our dogs trying to tell us something.