From tail wags to blinking cats, learn the many non-verbal ways our pets communicate with us every day.
Have you ever found yourself wishing that you could really talk to your pet? Believe it or not, our four-legged pals are talking to us every day, even before their first meow or bark in the morning! Understanding your furry pal’s non-verbal cues are a great way to build a stronger bond with them.
If you are ready to get closer to your furry family members, we’ve got great tips for noticing the little social conversations happening right in front of your eyes.
Ask any dog owner and they will tell you that their pooches are great at expressing themselves. Just like humans, dogs can show emotions with facial expressions. Their foreheads will actually wrinkle to show determination, and they often appear to smile when they are getting a tummy rub. Raise your hand if you’ve watched their eyes light up when they see their favorite toy or person!
Did you also know that you can tell a lot about your dog through his ears? It’s true!
When your dog is relaxed, he’ll hold his ears naturally. An alert dog will raise his ears higher on his head and he’ll direct them toward whatever’s holding his interest. If he’s feeling aggressive, he will raise his ears up and forward.
If your dog has his ears pulled back slightly, he’s indicating his intention to be friendly. If his ears are completely flattened or stuck out to the sides of his head, it’s how he warns you that he’s frightened or feeling submissive.
How to Read Fido’s Tail
Perhaps one of the best ways that dogs choose to talk to us is by their tails. It’s a common misconception that dogs will only wag their tail when they’re happy. In fact, their tails communicate everything from fear to anger.
When evaluating what a tail wag means, you have to consider movement and position. In terms of position, the tail’s height can be a window into how he’s feeling. When a dog is relaxed, his tail will be at medium height. A tail held horizontally denotes a pup who is attentive. A tail tucked under the body is a sign of fear and submissiveness. As for a vertical tail? Better watch out, as this is a clear signal that the dog sees you as a potential threat.
Movement is actually one of the best ways to understand a dog’s communication. The speed of the wag indicates how excited a dog is, while the breadth of each tail sweep reveals the dog’s emotional state.
Animal behaviorists believe there are many combinations that make up this important language between dogs.
Among the most common are:
- Broad wag: means happiness or pleasure
- Slight wag: viewed as a greeting
- Slow wag: denotes insecurity or fear
The Language of Cats
Dogs are not the only creatures that choose to communicate by moving their tails. Cats also use their tail as a main form of communication with each other and with you.
The most recognized form of tail speak is when a cat’s tail is positioned vertically. This indicates happiness. A tail that is positioned lower and swinging side to side is a sign of relaxed contentment. A tail that is twitching or thumping shows that a cat is annoyed or overstimulated.
One of the most surprising things that cats do with their tail is giving hugs. When your cat rubs against you while wrapping their tail around you, that is a cat hug! This behavior is often seen in cats reuniting after a period of separation. It’s their way of showing their pleasure in seeing each other again.
Like dogs, our feline friends commonly reach out to us with their eyes. They typically dilate their eyes when they are angry or on the attack. If you see your cat squint, it is a sign of appreciation. And if your cat closes its eyes completely for more than a second, this is how they express absolute trust.
In fact, experts believe that you can show your love to your cat by mimicking their squinting or blinking.
Now we all know that dogs rollover when they are angling for a belly rub. When you see your cat roll over, it’s only natural to assume the same is true. Don’t be fooled, though! A tummy rub for a cat is a very bad thing. While cats do sometimes roll over for affection, more often than not it is a sign of going into either a defensive or playful stance. Therefore, it’s best to refuse the urge to rub your kitty’s tummy to avoid any aggressive reactions.
We hope this article helped you get a better idea of how to talk to your dog or cat! Try mimicking your cat’s eyes next time you’re hanging around, or watching your dog’s ears! Hopefully these tips help you develop a better relationship with your furry friend.