Only Natural Pet Store LLC

Coupon Code HOLIDAYPET 15% Off Select items in our Holiday Gift Shop - Limited Time!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Nose Knows: How Dogs Use Sense

  One of the main ways that dogs communicate is with their sense of smell. they sniff other dogs to learn about their age, sex, and status. They can even tell a lot about a person's mood by the way he smells. A dog's sense of smell is up to a million times more sensitive than a human's.
  Dog's can detect scents we don't even know exist, and they can identify the faintest of smells, even when they're heavily masked by other scents. Dog's can smell things humans can't because they have more nasal membrane than we do. The nasal membrane is packed with olfactory receptors which are nerve endings that send messages to the brain in order for an odor to be detected.
  Dog's have another advantage. Their noses are always wet. It is believed that the moisture acts like Velcro, trapping scent molecules as they waft by. Along with the sticky mucus in the nasal passages, this allows dogs to collect and store large numbers of molecules as they pass by the nose. A dog's nostrils act like little antennas. dogs wiggle them to collect scents and figure out where they're coming from.
  When dogs raise their leg and urinate they are leaving a message behind to other dogs. This scent mark is unique to each dog just as fingerprints are to humans. When another dog comes by and sniffs these scent messages. These scent messages tell a dog about the originator's age, sex, and status.
  A dog's wagging tail communicates his demeanor but also plays a role in dog communication. Every time a dog moves his tail, it acts like a fan and spreads his scent.  Dogs have glands under their tail called anal glands. These glands contain an odoriferous liquid that's unique to each dog. We have all seen the meeting of two dogs during which they "exchange" information by sniffing under each others' tail. While this form of greeting is a little uncomfortable for the dog owners, it's important that the two dogs get the necessary information about each other to know where they stand with their new acquaintance. From the details they get they can tell how they should, or should not, continue the interaction. Every time the tail moves, the muscles around the anus contract, pressing on the glands, releasing the scent. A dominant dog who carries his tail high will release much more scent than a submissive dog who holds his tail lower.
  One of the reasons a nervous, frightened, or submissive dogs hold their tails between their legs is to prevent other dogs from sniffing them. It's their way of trying to fad into the background and not draw attention to themselves.
  Dog's also recognize their human's scents along with the smells of all the other people he's been introduced to. Experts refer to this as the dog's "scent memory". These memories are associated with the dog's experience with the person whether it was positive or negative.
  Believe it or not, a dog can tell a lot about your mood just by your smell. A person's body odor is blieved to change depending on his or her mood, and dogs are thought to be able to pick up on this.
 There are some smells that dog's dislike. Among these are citrus smells, such as lemon, lime, and orange, and spicy smells like red pepper. They particularly dislike the smell of citronella, which is why it's often used in spray form to keep dogs away from certain areas.There are odors dogs love that their owners really wished they didn't, such as the smell of trash or garbage.
    Some dogs, such as bloodhounds and German shepherds are known for their sense of smell. It's believed that a bloodhounds long ears help collect scent and pull it toward their nose as they move their nose along the ground. These dogs are often used as scent dogs for rescue as well as for drug or bomb sniffing missions.
   Come back in a few days to learn more about how dog's communicate. Until then please visit Your Family Pet to learn more about dogs and other pets such as cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Understanding Dog Communication

Welcome back to my series on dog communication. Ten years ago I adopted my first dog and since then have spent a great deal of time researching dog behavior. Through my research and what I've been taught by animal behavior experts and dog trainers I've decided to share what I've learned. Understanding dog communication and behavior has helped me create a happy bond with my own dog and my hope is that this information will do the same for you. In this article I would like to share what I've learned about how dog's use their voice to communicate.
As humans we tend to be verbal creatures. This makes it natural for us to expect that barking is the main way that dogs communicate with each other. To a dog, though, barking is far less important than other forms of communication, such as body language or scent marking.
Still, barks, whines, howls, and growls are all ways dogs communicate what they want. To understand this you need to look at the sound the dog is making and the context in which the dogs is "speaking".

Barking is the dog equivalent of human conversation. It's a great way to get the attention of your human or another dog. Dogs also use barking to announce territory and it actually releases stress. After all, who doesn't just feel like letting loose with a good holler or scream now and then to let off a little steam. Different barks can mean different things:
  • A series of high-pitched barks means your dog's worried or lonesome and wants attention.
  • A single bark in her regular voice means she's curious and alert and is making contact.
  • Quick, repetitive, high-pitched barks mean your dog's feeling playful, or has spotted something she wants to chase.
  • A low, repetitive bark-the sort your dog makes when a stranger approaches-means she's feeling defensive or protective.
Growling is one of those sounds your dog may make that unmistakeably means there's something wrong. This is a sound that really needs little interpretation. Dog's also growl, however, when they are frightened and even, sometimes, during play.
  • When your dog combines a growl with a dominance posture, he's feeling aggressive.
  • When he combines a growl with a submissive posture, he's feeling fearful or defensive.
  • A growl during play isn't aggressive.
Howling is the way a dog gets in touch with other dogs, even when they're miles away. A sing-song howl is used to contact other dogs, and means your dog is curious or happy. This is probably the howl you hear when your dog "sings" along with a police siren. It's believed that the sound of the siren is close enough to the sound of another dog that it triggers an instinct in your dog to "answer" or join in. Breeds that were bred to work together as a pack, like sled dogs such as the Husky, seem to have a greater tendency to howl. Others, like my Australian Shepherd, who were bred to work alone don't tend to using howling as a means of communication.
A plaintive, mournful howls is a signal of distress or great loneliness.

Whining or Whimpering
Whining and whimpering are sounds that go back to a dog's puppy-hood, when these sounds got him attention. When your dog is excited or lonesome, he'll whine or whimper to get your attention. These can sound like yawns. When he's stressed, fearful, or worried, he'll give repetitive, squeaky whines that may be punctuated with shrill yaps.

Mixed Messages
We spend a lot of time with our dogs and get to know them pretty well. It's important to remember, however, that we have different methods of communication and our motivations for using certain vocalizations can be entirely different. In many cases we send mixed signals to our dogs. A great example of this is yelling at your dog to try and get her to stop barking. To a dog, however, we are say, "Hey, let's all bark! I'm barking, you're barking, let's bark together!"

Stop Excessive Barking
Teaching a dog to curb his barking can take a lot of time and patience. That's why early on it was one of the first commands I taught my dog. Many trainers believe that teaching a dog to bark on command is the key to training a dog to stop barking. I know this sounds strange but I've found this quite effective.
First, find out what you can do to start your dog barking. Speaking in an excited tone may do it or jumping up and down, running, or waving your arms in an excited way. When your dog starts to bark, praise her by telling her "good bark" or "good speak" and give her a treat. Keep doing this until just giving the command will set her off.
Once she barks on command, it's time to teach her to stop on command. Use the command to get her barking. Then when she pauses between barks, give her a treat and tell her "good quiet." dogs can't bark and chew at the same time,, and most dogs will eagerly swap one activity for the other. Keep practicing this until your dog consistently stops barking when you give the "quiet" command.
The ideas isn't to stop the barking entirely. We want our dogs to let us know when something is wrong and some dogs need to get barking our of their system. They also, however, need to learn to respond to the "quiet" command.
Another key to curbing barking is to make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and interaction with you. Remember, dogs bark for a reason and many times it's their way of making a connection with you.

Shop SitStay, Good for Your Dog Supplies

Check back for more information on how dog's communicate. Next time we'll explore how dogs use scent to communicate. Until then, take a look at my webpage,Your Family Pet, for more information about dogs and other common family pets.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

How Do Dogs Communicate With Other Dogs: Dog Body Language

  When two dogs meet for the first time it doesn't take long for them to become acquainted. Within minutes of meeting they've determined one another's sex, age, and status, and come to an understanding as to which dog is the more dominant. There may be the quick affirmation of dominance by one dog mounting the other. How do they decide this? Well, dog communication involves several things, body language and scent. In this article we'll cover how dog's speak using body language.
  Throughout a dog's life, body language will be the most important way for dog's to talk with each other. He'll use his eyes, tail ears, and general stance to let them know what's on his mind. When two dogs meet, the first thing they do is establish their rank. A dog who wants to say, "I'm confident, I'm fearless, and what are you going to do about it?" does so by putting his head, tail, ears, and hackles up and by making eye contact. If another dog of lesser rank wants to reply, "O.K, got it." he'll lower his tail and ears and possible crouch or lick his lips.
  When a dog wants to invite another do to play, there's no mistaking his message. He's happy, panting, grinning, and his tail is waging so hard that his whole rear end is wiggling. He may drop into a play-bow, then back up and pretend to run.
  On the other hand, if they've been playing hard and one dog decides he's had enough, he'll start ignoring the other dog. If that doesn't work, he might raise a lip, growl, or even snap to get the other dog to back off. At this point the other dog will either get the message and move on his way or he may try to bring things to a friendly level again. To do this he'll use many gestures. He may lick the other dog's mouth, roll over, and expose his belly. These are all gestures that show submission. The dog might also use other appeasing gestures such as flattening his ears, lower his body and squinting.
  The use of body language in dogs allows them to tell a lot about each other. Here are some other ways dogs communicate with body language.
  • Direct eye contact means a dog is feeling bold and confident.
  • Averted gaze is submissive
  • Ears that are up and forward means a dog is challenging or being assertive
  • Ears laid back show that a dog is worried or scared.
  • Pawing is a submission gesture.
  • Draping the head over another dog's shoulders is a challenge or sign that a dog is asserting dominance.
  • Licking the lips is a sign a dog is worried or is being appeasing.
  • Lips pulled back are a challenging or warning sign.
  • Hackles raise indicate either a dog is frightened or is challenging another dog.
  • Smooth hackles show a dog is calm.
  • Tail held straight out, wagging rhythmically and slowly, means that a dog is cautious or on guard.
  • Tail held up and wagging fast indicates excitement.
  • A tail between the legs is a sign of fear.
  Understanding how dogs communicate with other dogs can be useful in situations where your dog may come in contact with others, such as at the dog park. There have been times when noticing the body language of another dog and my dog's response has caused me to remove my dog from what could be potential conflict. As a dog owner I've learned to be more in-tuned to the subtleties of dog body language which also has come in handy when introducing my dog to other dogs. There are times when I see that they are "working things out" on a doggie level or see that we'll need to approach this new relationship in a more careful way.
  Come back soon as I continue my serious on pet communication and how to speak dog. In my next article I plan to cover how dogs use their voice to communicate. In the mean time feel free to visit my website, Your Family Pet, for more information on dogs and other family pets.

Banner 468x60 Static

How To Speak Dog

   Even though our relationships with our dogs have some "human" qualities, such as mutual respect and affection, there's an inevitable distance between us. We belong to different species, after all, and we see the world and communicate in very different ways. Sometimes dogs are telling us things we can't understand. And sometimes we want to tell them things but don't know the best ways to experss them.  This doesn't mean we can't talk to our dogs. It just mans we have to learn how to speak dog language.
  Although we consider our dog a part of our family, dog's aren't like us.  This is why our words and gestures mean nothing to them or, in some cases, mean the opposite of what we're trying to say. Hugging is a good example of this. To us, a nice hug is a sign of affection. But dogs don't feel that way. The nearest they come to hugging in when one dog, in an attempt to dominate, pins another dog's shoulders with her paws. So dogs may view hugs as signs of dominance rather than affection.
   In my next series of blogs I'll explore dog human communication. What are you saying to your dog? What is your dog trying to tell you? Come back each day for more information about how dogs communicate with us and with other dogs. Hopefully, the information and insights in this blog will improve your relationship with your family friend.

pet supplies