Why can humans mimic a dog's barking?
Dealing with dogs
Dog and body language: from jumping to baring teeth
Sandra rings the doorbell at her friend Andrea's door. The door opener hums, Sandra pushes the front door and hears a dog barking inside. Before she has even entered the hallway, you jump towards it and up on it. Andrea comes running out of the living room, pulls the dog away and apologizes. «Sorry, Sandra. Elvis is still young and he has not yet got his temper under control. "
With Elvis the case is clear: Elvis is a young dog and Sandra could be a potential play partner. He doesn't know that he triggers fear in Sandra by contacting Sandra. Young dogs do not yet know what is proper and what is not and so they jump up at people to express their joy. Adult dogs, on the other hand, who jump at visitors head-on, often want to mark their territory and tell the opposite: "Here I am the boss." You should therefore be particularly careful when approaching or entering a dog's territory.
So that you can correctly classify the behavior of a dog, it is important that you do not look at individual components in isolation, but rather interpret any acoustic signals such as barking and growling together with the dog's body language and facial expressions. By the way, most people intuitively correctly assess a dog's mood.
Not all barks are the same: Understand dog language correctly
“Dogs that bark don't bite” is a saying. But it is not that simple in reality. Dog laymen can at least orientate themselves on the tone of the barking. Basically, if a dog barks in a higher pitch, the dog is excited. If the barking sounds rather low in terms of the pitch of the voice, the dog is threatening. The size of the dog also has an effect on the pitch of the barking: Smaller dogs bark in higher pitches, large dogs in lower pitches. Therefore it is not that easy to be able to correctly assess the barking. Therefore, for your own safety, you are generally careful with barking dogs.
Even when growling, you can roughly distinguish between a light and a low pitch. When a dog with a trusted partner in so-called tugging games an object, z. B. wants to get hold of a stick, he growls for fun. This game growl sounds brighter and is actually harmless. However, since it expresses a state of excitement in the dog, caution is advised. If, on the other hand, a dog growls at a stranger in a rather crouched position with big ears and averted gaze, that means something like: "Don't come any closer to me!" The animal is stressed and insecure. It is an offensive threat according to the motto: "Stop it!", When the dog stands there with great body tension, has a fixed stare or even fixes you directly and growls deeply. In order not to irritate the dog further or even to provoke an attack, one should withdraw slowly and calmly.
Tail wagging dogs: often misunderstood
The friendly, tail-wagging dog, as we know it from children's books or films, harbors one of the most common misunderstandings in the relationship between dog and human. Non-dog owners almost always interpret tail wagging as a gesture of joy. In fact, the wagging of the tail alone says nothing about how a dog is in mood, only something about the level of arousal. If the dog wags its tail violently to the side or in a propeller-like manner, it is usually in a good mood. But if he is in the «hunting mood» at the same time, it can happen that he chases after a running child. In order not to fuel the hunting instinct of dogs, one should not move too jerkily when meeting them and rather walk slowly past them.
If a dog with a saber-like tail stands very stiff and fluffed and only wags the tip of its tail with a small amplitude, caution is also required. A dog shows this behavior when a person wants to do something that the four-legged friend does not agree with at all. For example, when someone enters their territory or wants to take something away from the dog. Then it is time to withdraw so as not to provoke the dog any further.
Much more often, however, a dog directs this demonstration, especially if it is a male, to fellow dogs. If a male combines this behavior with growling towards another male, it translates as "I am stronger than you", if he combines it towards a bitch with a high squeak, it means: "I am a great pike."
Showing teeth: can dogs smile?
Some pets develop behaviors that are similar to those of humans. When a dog shows its teeth it can look like it is smiling. In fact, it is possible that he is expressing a friendly mood because some dogs imitate human behavior. But there are also situations in which a dog shows its teeth for other reasons. If a dog bares its teeth, it growls and looks tense, it means to keep a distance. A dog cannot speak and say: "Leave me alone, stay away from me!" Or: "I don't know you and don't want to be touched by you." So he expresses himself in whatever language he can. Conversely, we cannot answer in dog language. It is therefore all the more important that we humans try to classify the behavior of a dog correctly and to behave respectfully towards the animal.
Avoid dog bites
In a sticky situation with a dog, it is good to know how to behave.Learn more...
The following applies in the canton of Zurich
Everything about dog training, prohibited breeds and the duties of dog owners.Learn more...
Do you know?
What does eye contact mean for the dog? And how does he react to that?Learn more...
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