Dog Communication and Gestures
It has always been a mystery to me how dogs communicate with one another, not just with humans, but to each other, I don’t see my dogs bark at each other nor any form of vocal communication. Do they even talk?
Luckily for us, there are many studies on the topic, dogs do indeed communicate with each other, through it is not always through a vocal means.
Primary, dogs will use gestures to communicate, when communicating with other dogs, they greet each other with familiar patterns such as circling or sniffing each other’s muzzle and genital area.
Gestures are defined as movements of the head, a change in the position of the body or other movements that have a meaning. When observing dogs, it is easy to see that they use gestures to communicate with each other and with human beings. It is not hard to get a dog’s attention by simply pointing at him or giving him a visual “nudge”. This is because the dog understands that this gesture means something to him.
Studies have been done which show that dogs are able to recognize the meaning in human facial expressions as well. This study showed that dogs can use a human’s facial expression to determine whether or not a dog is communicating with him. It is thought that this ability may be related to the fact that dogs can predict an individual’s behaviour by simply looking at their body language.
Dog gestures are used during interactions to communicate with others. However, not all dogs can understand what this mean. There is a study showing that dogs are able to recognize human facial expressions. This study showed that dogs would change their behaviour towards an unfamiliar person depending on whether the facial expression was happy or angry.
Another study showed that dogs can be trained to recognize certain human gestures. It was found that when a person would raise their hand in the air, the dog would automatically sit down. This demonstrates a clear understanding of simple gestures between people and dogs.
Movements of the head, such as head tilting or change of position of the body or other movements that have a meaning in communication. We know that dogs use gestures to communicate with each other and with people too. Dogs are able to learn from experiences instead from mother or other dogs.
In order for a dog to understand what gestures mean, it is important that he is able to see them and recognize them. Therefore, when dogs are communicating with each other they usually only use body language. This means that the gesture isn’t directed at a particular person but just to the other dog in the pack. The dogs in this situation are actually communicating through their body language and not words because gestures always indicate something to another dog in a pack that they belong to.
Why Use Gestures Instead of Words?
Communication is generally a two-way street. If you want to gain the knowledge from someone, you must communicate with them as well. Two-way communication involves speaking and listening. When dogs communicate with each other they usually just look at each other but never talk. Cats also do this when communicating which makes it very difficult for people to understand what they are saying. Instead of saying “I’m hungry,” the cat will just stare at you and rub against your leg in an attempt to convey that message. Dogs also lack the ability to communicate vocally but do not need this skill because they understand the meaning behind each other’s body language. This is why they use gestures instead of words. Dogs are able to learn from experiences instead of being taught by their mother or other dogs.
What Gestures Mean?
Dogs tend to show a closed mouth gesture when they are nervous or afraid. When a dog is fearful, he will show this gesture to the other dog in his pack. This can be seen in dogs that are scared of fireworks, loud noises, or strange people.
The open mouth gesture is used specifically when members of the pack are communicating with each other. During this time, they will often show their teeth and open their mouths. This reveals that they want something from you. This can be seen in dogs that want to be petted, fed, or get paid attention. The closed mouth gesture is seen when a dog is talking to you or wants something from you.
If you walk your dog regularly, this is a good way for them to alert you when they want something from you. For example, if your dog wants to go outside sometimes and you let them out but do not leave the house with them. The dog will often bring you to the door that he wants to go outside. This is his way of telling you that he needs to go out.
How Do Dogs Express Emotions Through Gestures?
If a dog is happy and excited, he will show this by wagging his tail rapidly back and forth. If a dog is angry, upset, or irritated by an action in the pack, then he will usually show a tail wag that isn’t as hard or as fast.
Gestures in the dog and the Human Brain
A study done by Michael W. Fox tested dogs by their ability to understand gestures. It showed that dogs have a high degree of understanding when it comes to gestures perpetrated by humans. Studies have also proven that dogs and humans share similar abilities when it comes to understanding gestures in each other. This is because humans use their hands, arms, body language, and facial expressions to show what they mean without words. Dogs use similar methods which shows they have an understanding of these signals. These signals are used by humans and dogs to communicate with one another to show what they mean.
The similarities between the dog’s understanding of human gestures and those of the human brain are:
- Open Mouth Gesture = Happy or Excited
- Closed Mouth Gesture = Angry or Frightened
- Open Arm Gesture = Pleasure, Joy, or Contentment
- Closed Arm Gesture = Excitement, Frustration, or Disinterest
- Body Language = Understanding and Emotion
- Incongruity = Unusual Emotions or Actions
Gestures are found in all animals, but some species have much more developed communication methods than others. Dogs are one of the most well-known examples of this because they use so many visual and auditory signals to convey their meaning to other dogs.
Dogs use gestures to communicate among themselves. It is a form of communication that is very unique compared to humans. Although dogs lack vocal cords, they communicate with each other through their gestures, facial expressions, and body language.
Gestures are the primary means of communication between dogs. In addition to these basic symbols, non-verbal communication can also be seen in their overall body movement and general posture. These behaviours have been interpreted by humans throughout history, giving them meanings different from intent distinctions made by other animals such as wolves or dolphins.