Have you ever heard someone say that a dog bit someone for no reason out of nowhere? In reality this is almost never true. There are many signs to watch out for that signal a dog is not comfortable with what is happening around them. They aren’t able to communicate through words so they try to signal in other ways. It is important for all dog owners and others who are regularly around dogs to know what to look out for to reduce the risk of being attacked by a dog.
What does it mean if my dog barks or whines?
Many times a dog instinctively starts whining when they are uncomfortable. Whining can signal that something in the dog’s immediate environment is causing them to be uncomfortable. Barking can elicit a similar response. Your dog can’t always control these instincts so rather than getting upset with them you should observe their surroundings and try to determine what is causing the response. As you become more familiar with your dog it will be easier for you to determine what is making them uncomfortable by the variance of the pitch or volume of their bark or whine.
What does it mean if my dog is growling
Another obvious signal of discomfort in your dog is growling. Some of the common causes are if someone unfamiliar is in their territory and they feel threatened. Sometimes they will growl if they are hurt and someone is aggravating an injury. While growling may seem to us to be a sign of aggression, it actually is a signal that your dog feels uncomfortable. Some smaller breeds such as Whoodles or Maltipoos will feel more threatened than a larger breed such as a Golden Retriever.
Many people will discourage their dog from growling but this may lead to issues later on where a dog will attack without warning. It is important to respect the signals and solve the underlying issue rather than just making them quiet down. Trust your dog’s instincts and as you become more familiar with them and their personality you should face less issues.
What does it mean if my dog suddenly stops moving?
A dog suddenly holding still is a very strong warning sign that they are uncomfortable and sudden movements will likely cause them to attack. This sudden stop may be due to something they see or smell something unfamiliar. They become immoble due to not understanding how to handle whatever situation they are facing. We recommend extreme caution in these situations. Do not make sudden movements or noises. Speak calmly and soothingly to your dog before slowly moving towards them. Usually they will calm down if not antagonized.
Why is my dog pacing?
Your dog may pace due to unfamiliar territory such as a new park or the veterinarian office. This signal is a very mild sign of discomfort. Petting your dog and talking to them with an encouraging tone will help them feel more at ease.
What are other body language cues I should watch out for?
There are many other cues you should be aware of as a dog owner. Avoiding eye contact tucked back ears, raising their hackles, and a tucked tail are further signs of discomfort. This can vary depending on the situation and the best way to determine the cause is by becoming more familiar with your dog.
With a familiarity of these signs you will become a better dog owner. Not only could you be removing the risk of your dog attacking someone, you are also improving their life by understanding how to make them more comfortable. Just because these signs sometimes signal discomfort doesn’t mean they always do. A dog may simply be barking from excitement. They may be pacing because they have pent up energy and need a walk. Learn more about your dog, their mood and mannerisms and you won’t regret it.