Dog Training and K9 Communication.
By observing a dogs reaction to stress through its body language be it during dog training or in everyday real life scenarios you can as an owner or trainer immediately take steps to assist your dog in achieving a desired outcome or take appropriate action in order to take your dog out of harms way.
E.G. You call your dog to "COME" , your dog looks at you with that look that says "HUH" recognizing the look of confusion (as apposed to the look of defiance) crouching down with open arms, smiling and encouraging a forward action is more likely to cause your dog to achieve the desired results.
K9 Body Language
Some dog breeds are born with certain features in relation to ear and tail carriage and stance , the malamute and other Spitz breeds have a naturally high tail carriage, the boxer for example has a high stance a drop tail and folded ears, unlike the Labrador which has a low stance, a drop tail and dropped ears, the German Shepherd has an erect ear carriage, regardless of the breed you can notice changes to these parts of the dog when they are interacting either with humans or other dogs be they known and unknown, by observing your dog’s own and others body language during these times will assist you in the training your dog and staying out of harms way.
Up – Assertive, Confident, Breed trait
Down - Submissiveness
Upright/Tall – Assertive, Confident, Breed trait
Slinky – Immature, Timid, Submissive
Bow position = Playful
Forward – Aggression, Alert, Breed trait
Backward – Submissive, Timid, Immature
Dropped – Relaxed, Breed trait
Up – Frightened, Aggression
Eye contact – Confident
Smiling – Aggression, Nervousness, Breed trait
Raised Paw – Submission
Chin over dog’s neck – Assertive, Challenging, and Dominating
Standing over another – Assertive, Challenging, and Dominating
Slinkiness (low stance) – Submission, Fear or Timidity
Upright - Assertive, Challenging, and Dominating
Licking - Submission, Fear or Timidity
Weeing on greeting - Submissive
Weeing on an individual or structure – Assertive, Challenging, and Dominating
Humping – Assertive, Challenging, and Dominating.
Communication plays an enormous part in our dog’s lives, dogs communicate vocally with their voice and physically with their body, their senses is the means by which information is processed. Dogs can suffer from deafness; blindness etc so it is important to ensure your dog is in tip top health, their health may be the cause of their bad behaviour.
Tone and pitch of a dogs bark differs with breeds and age, whilst puppies will emit the same sounds they do so in an immature way in that the pitch is higher.
Different tones and pitch
Guarding or Alert barking, low pitch tone rapid short barks, assertive, aggressive. When this sound is heard, take the time to investigate the cause, praise the dog when satisfied as to the "why" then command the dog to "Quiet". The reasoning behind this course of action is the following, the dog is alerting or warning - the leader "you" assumes control by "checking things out" then when you are satisfied you command the dog to "QUIET" and he/she takes guard again..This will teach your dog to cease barking on command conversely praising your dog whilst barking will teach your to "Speak"
N.B In the event someone is at the front door you do not recognize, do not command your dog to "QUIET" and the more intense the vocalization the more you need to check.
The play with me bark, repetitive singular barks, excited high pitch.
I’m bored, is any one there? Bark, Singular repetitive monotone. When this sound is heard you must quickly go to the dog and command the dog to "Quiet", going to the dog is important as you will be able to validate that the is no legitimate need to bark.
Whine, High pitched, anxious, distressed
Howling, Calling out for pack members
Just as dogs verbalize through sounds of differing tones we as "Owners" just like our dogs need to be able to communicate effectively, firstly what we want and secondly if the dog was successful we need to communicate this to them as well, and thirdly we need to be able to define to the dog correct from incorrect responses. Practice these communication skills when interacting with your dog, your dog will be much happier to have someone leading who can communicate clearly, concisely and confidently.
In general life as in the training of our dogs we utilize 3 tones of voice to distinguish between praise, commands and reprimands. What you say and how you say it will determine in part the response you elicit from the dog.
Praise is given in a high pitched happy tone.
Commands are given in a firm and authoritative tone.
Reprimands are given using a low and growling tone.
Commands are generally single syllable words; this is to make ours and the dog’s task easier use words like ‘SIT’ instead of ‘SIT DOWN’ and ‘COME’ instead of ‘ROVER COME HERE’