Your dog's communication signals? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2014, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Your dog's communication signals?

I know there's lots of books about canine communication out there. I like reading them, but what's even better is reading the dog in front of me. I try to interpret the behavior and for the most part it's pretty clear. But every once in a while I'll notice something that never gets mentioned in books, and I'm curious if any of you have similar stories?

My 'neato observation' right now is that my pup will flip the tips of his ears forward when he's really ramped up in play. I first noticed this when we had the flirt pole out, and I'd psych him out on a pounce: just when he thought he'd get it - zoom - it was gone from under him. His ear tips bent forward every time.

Now I'm seeing this with the frisbee too. He gets excited for the toy, and will face me with an air snap. Uh uh, he has to be at least 10' away for the toss. So he'll hand it to me, back up and give a snap, and run for the throw. That's when I see those ear tips bend forward: when he's running away, waiting to catch it.

Do you guys notice stuff like that? I know it's not something you can say across the board, "All dogs do this" type of thing...but I wouldn't expect all dogs to do the same thing anyway, since they do have different personalities. I'm just curious to know what little quirks you might have seen in your dogs.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2014, 02:25 PM
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When I have a frisbee with Masi, her eyes bulge out of her head,,and I can see her brain saying "throw it throw it, throw it NOW !!"

My male aussie, same thing , he would go into "border stare" mode, hold a toy, the eyes are just BULGING out of his head, he's down in that border stance, as soon as it's in his mouth, wham, calm calm calm

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2014, 02:35 PM
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My favorite is when i take a calm relaxed dog and give them the "you ready?" cue. Then their eyes quickly fix on mine. i see the pupils dialate out to the size of nickles and then they explode off the mark.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2014, 02:40 PM
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It is an interesting topic.

I would like to delve into eye contact with my dogs and actually study it a bit but it is difficult as dogs minds work faster than ours and they simply communicate differently. As in they can adapt there facial expression much more than humans and I think they communicate non verbally with this mechanism and tail, ears and posture.

What i notice is if you stare into a dogs eyes for long enough and start blinking and twitching either eye the dog can copy you.

When the dog realizes whats going on it can also initiate the game with it doing the blinking first. It maybe be possible for a dog to learn a response for yes and no.

It was funny once I was doing this with my dog and after 20 minutes or so he twitched many muscles in his face and forehead/ears and realized I can't actually respond to that level of communication.

Another thing I tried with my female dog is to get her breathing differently in response to my que.

Basically she'd take a breath, then I'd take a breath. After a while I'd do a double breath and after a while she will copy it.

Another thing I do is say 'I love you' to her and she actually mumbles it back to me and then gives a funny noise.

I think they would like to expand on the dialogue but know they can't.

Last edited by MadLab; 02-09-2014 at 02:47 PM.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2014, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MadLab View Post
Another thing I do is say 'I love you' to her and she actually mumbles it back to me and then gives a funny noise.

I think they would like to expand on the dialogue but know they can't.
Same here! I introduced the 'pleasure moaning' to my pup because I wanted him to be able to say "I love you" back, lol. So instead of me using the actual words, I used the same feelings and energy and just moaned instead, and now he does it too. It's so awesome
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2014, 03:20 PM
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Shadow used to rattle her collar when she wanted to go out. Hear clinking tags? Find your coat... To this day, I still have no idea how the association came about.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2014, 08:30 PM
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I loved reading the Calming Signals book and learned a lot.
One of my favorite observations is Molly's pretending to stop and smell the grass move. She does this if someone is approaching or behind us on a trail or sidewalk. She stops and lets them pass. I also love the air smelling and tracking signals. She alerted me to someone sleeping hidden away in the park the other morning.

She will also paw things and nose things. She has a look of despair and excitement combined when we don't stop and pass places where we've taken her out to for lunch or a snack. There are more and more restaurants in our area offering doggie menus.

Last edited by Gretchen; 02-09-2014 at 08:32 PM.
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