Speaking Dog As A Second Language

In addition to observing body language to determine what dogs are thinking and feeling, we can mimic dog signals ourselves too share our thoughts and intentions with them. In her book, On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals, Turid Rugaas uses the example of head turning as a signal we can both read and use. Dogs turn their heads to look away to signal that they mean no harm, are uncomfortable with a situation, or to avoid rudely looking straight on at another dog. (Or all of the above.)

There are many signals we can easily use that are easily recognizable to most dogs. For instance, Blocking and Laying Down. Other signals are harder to mimic or may not be as recognizable to dogs. Not all of us are good at pulling off a sneeze on demand, for example. Dogs don't always recognize our hands and feet as paw equivalents, so signals that require a paw can also be difficult to reproduce meaningfully.

What signals can you reproduce effectively?

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