13 June 2022
Dogs are one of the most friendly mammals humans can ever interact with. Scientists have spent decades trying to figure out how dogs read human cues as they have always been remarkable at reading human body language.
And, for dog lovers, in particular, it’s only natural to want to pet and interact with every dog they see but have you ever considered what your actions might appear to your dog? Let’s look at how dogs interpret human body language by watching how they react to it.
For humans, eye contact is a sign of showing interest and connecting with others, but dogs do not interpret this behavior in the same way. But, in some cases, dogs do not mind eye contact and use it as a cue to initiate playing games.
If you want to have a pleasant and comfortable interaction with your dog, approach your body slightly slanted and your gaze directed to the side or above the head rather than directly into their eyes. When you believe the dog is at ease with you, try making soft eye contact and talking softly to let your dog know you are not a threat.
Dogs, particularly those who aren’t entirely at ease around humans, are extremely sensitive to our movements. Furthermore, a dog will be looking at you, picking up on even the most unintended or subtle cues.
Sometimes, all of your unconscious body signals can be puzzling and intimidating to him, which can be stressful for him because dogs dislike uncertainty. On other occasions, however, he’ll understand exactly what a smile or a come-and-cuddle look means and will respond just as joyfully.
Many dogs hate being patted on the top of the head, while others tolerate it, and a small percentage may even enjoy it. When it comes to hand contact interactions, such as petting, it’s important to remember not to be pushy and instead to let the dog approach you.
If you genuinely want to communicate with the dog, squat down, extend your hand, and allow him to approach you. And if he doesn’t, it’s best to respect him and refrain from touching him because he may not be ready for that level of intimacy from a human.
Hugging someone to show affection is entirely natural for humans. And some dogs enjoy receiving hugs, while others prefer only receiving hugs from their trusted humans, and still, others do not want any form of affection, even from their owner.
Besides, if your dog doesn’t like hugs, you can use classical conditioning or counter-conditioning to teach him to tolerate them. Classical conditioning involves giving a puppy a positive association with something he doesn’t already have an opinion about, while classical counter-conditioning provides the dog a new association with something he already has a negative view about.
So there you have it! Humans still have a lot to learn about dogs, and as much as you adore them, you must use appropriate body language with every dog you meet. Understanding how to communicate effectively with your dog can ensure that your actions positively impact their behavior.