Dog Language – Part 2

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boomer, dogs languageIt was around three o’clock in the night, last Saturday that I heard Boomer barking. Loudly, with short barks, meaning he was alarmed but not afraid: Someone enters our territory. We possibly have to come in action. Fons, my husband was alarmed at the same moment as me. He jumped out of the bed and looked through the window of our bedroom onto the street. Nothing to see, but Boomer kept barking. I went downstairs and Boomer stopped his barks for a few seconds, wagging his tail when he saw me. Fons also came down and went outside through the back-door with a flashlight. There was nothing to be seen or heard. We both gave Boomer a pat on his head and went to bed again. The rest of the night he kept his mouth quiet. On Sunday morning we heard that – three houses further – a bicycle had been stolen!

What does a barking dog mean?

  • Continuing bark, but a little bit slow and on a low pitch:The intruder (the danger) is very nearby. I think this is the enemy. Be prepared to defend yourself! The dog begins to become restless and feels threatened clearly.
  • An extended series bark, with moderate till long intervals. Is someone there? I feel lonely and I am in need for some company. Generally caused by social isolation or confinement.
  • One or two sharp, short barks, on normal or higher tone: Hello! Typical greetings- or recognitions signal, meant for a well-known person.
  • Single, well-considered bark: Come here… Learned form of communication, to bring about a human reaction, as the opening of a door, being hungry, etc…
  • Soft growl, low tone (seems to come from the chest): Go away! Look out, you! Of a dominant dog that is irritated or demands that others stay out of its neighbourhood.
  • Cry (often sonorous and long-drawn-out): I am here! This is my territory. Dogs use this to announce their presence, to socialize on distance and to beacon their territory.
  • Crying bark: I am alone and I am worried. Why does nobody come to keep me company? The sad sound of a dog that feels lonesome and fears that nobody will react on its cry of distress.
  • A screaming dog: Help! I think I will die. A sign of pain and panic of a dog that fears for its life.

Signals of the tail

  • Tail horizontal, pointing, but not stiff: Maybe something interesting is going to happen there.
  • Tail points straight behind: Let’s see who’s the boss here.
  • Tail low, near the hind legs: I do not feel well. I am a little bit depressed. Tail between the legs: I am frightened. Please, don’t hurt me.
  • Hairs standing up on the tail: I defy you! Slight wag:You like me, don’t you?
  • Spread out wag, without lowering the body, moving the hips to and fro: I like you. Let’s be friends.
  • Slowly wagging, rather low tail: I don’t quite understand.

We could not explain to Boomer how proud we were of him that he might have driven away a thief from our house, but we rewarded him with a special dog’s treat of rawhide, and his tail almost made him lift off the ground, it was spinning so fast!


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