Many of us think of our dogs’ bark or whine as their way of trying to communicate with us, however English researchers have discovered that certain behaviours and movements offer more insight into what our four-legged friends are trying to tell us.
A new study conducted by the University of Salford in Manchester has identified up to 47 different gestures that man’s best friend commonly uses to communicate with us. Publishing the findings in the science journal Animal Cognition, the study observed 37 pet pooches in their own homes and managed to translate up to 19 recurring gestures into easily understandable phrases for humans.
As you can imagine, most of the gestures were roughly translated into variations of ‘scratch me’ or ‘feed me’, however other gestures were used to communicate their desire to go outside, play, have a door opened for them or a toy to be fetched. Read on for our helpful guide to decoding your dog’s behaviour.
The dictionary of dog-speak:
Feed Me: Includes gestures such as using its snout and head to move your hand on to its body. holding one paw in the air while sitting, turning its head from side-to-side looking between a human and another object, and using its mouth to throw a toy forward.
Scratch Me: Rolling over in front of you or pressing its nose against you or another object. Licking you or an object or lifting a paw and placing it on you. Gently biting your arm or rubbing its head against you while leaning against you
Play with Me: Briefly touching a person with a single paw, diving headfirst under a person or object, reaching a paw towards an object of interest, or wiggling its body underneath a person or object.
Open the Door for Me: Lifting both paws off the ground and placing them on its owner or a nearby object and jumping up and down, either on to an object or not, while in the same location.
Other, more specific movements have been decoded to mean:
Tickle my tummy: Rolling over
Scratch me: Putting their head forward or holding their hind leg up
Play with me: Standing on hind legs
Get me that: Head turn, hovering a paw, resting it on you or a paw reach
I'm hungry: Flicking a toy or jumping
Open it: Front paws on something
Play with me: Chomping
Get me my toy: Paw tapping
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