How to Communicate with your Cocker Spaniel
This is a fun learning experience for all dog owners. Knowing how your pup communicates and by doing a little observation, you’ll be well on your way to effectively communicating with your Cocker Spaniel. Dogs have natural instincts and behaviors to be aware. By understanding how dogs communicate the process of bonding, understanding and training your dog become easier.
Cocker Spaniels are an intelligent breed, but by no means should the owner believe that the pup is smarter than they are. To assume your dog can understand your language is a big mistake. To communicate with your Cocker Spaniel, or any other pup, you must have an understanding how they communicate and interact with people, other dogs and animals. All dogs have the ability to communicate through body signs and varying vocals. It’s up to us to recognize the signs and signals.
How Dogs Think
Dogs think in terms of instincts,images and actions. They do not think in sentences or ideas like we do. They associate actions through body language. For example, if you were to say in a friendly tone “Who wants to go out” you could leave out the words “who wants to go” and the dog would react the same way. The dog has been trained to react to the word “out” and picks the word “out” from the sentence. The dog isincapable of understanding sentences. Your voice and the way you express yourself (your actions) will always have the bigger impact. Try whispering the sentence to your dog and see the reaction, next say the same sentence with excitment and you will notice a big difference in reaction.
Body Signs and vocals used to communicate
Movement of eyes, ears, eyebrows, head, mouth and tail make up the basic body movement signs. Vocal signs include barking, growls, whimper and whines. Gestures by the pup can have changing meanings such as a dog panting. This might indicate the dog could be hot, anxious or just happy.
A tail held high is the sign of a confident and higher ranking dog. In the wild dogs have and display feelings of submission and dominance in them. This is normal pack behavior because there is a hierarchy within the pack. The weaker dogs of the pack submit themselves to the more dominant dogs in the pack. You would notice an insecure dog with the tail lowered. With an aggressive dog you would notice high tail and the hairs on the tail and back of the neck standing up. You would also notice this if the dog believes it must engage to protect itself or property. Most animals will display this behavior in attempting to increase their size in front of their enemy. If you see a dog with a high tail it is very confident.
A dog will wag its tail slowly when accessing a confusing situation. It will continue to so while sniffing and going through the process carefully conducting his evaluation. They will either come to accept the situation or not. Dogs waging their tails very fast are excited. If the dogs hips are moving from side to side along with the dogs tail wags, this is a sign that the dog is ready to submit to a higher ranking dog. You’ll see this behavior more often within a litter and in happy pups when they greet their owners.
Aggressive dogs will show their fangs. If the fangs and teeth are visible the dog is indicating that it is ready to bite or attack. In addition a snaring dog will show all his teeth and gums. The difference between a dog smiling and a dog snarling is that a dog smiling will only show front teeth.
Dog ears can tell you plenty on what a dog is accessing. They provide indications of attention levels. A dogs ears facing front and erect indicate that the dog is concentrating. Ears that appear to be lying down indicate that the dog may be fearful of something. Occasionally you will see a dog ears that are forward and horizontal, this indicates the puppy is happy.
Barking is used to communicate in different ways. Dogs tend to bark to convey emotions which include suspicion, stress, fear and pleasure. A shape and short bark indicates the dog is excited or just playing. A repeated high pitch bark indicates the dog is stressed or anxious. Interesting enough, dogs bark to communicate with other animals and dogs but the barking sound is different.
To threaten or show a sign of superiority a dog may growl. Howling is used for long range communication. A dog may yawn when it is bored, sleepy, stressed or confused. A panting dog with an open month is a happy dog. A dog will indicate that it’s time to play with a slightly open mouth while panting. The pup will also stomp its front legs and or lift its hind quarters while lower its head and front legs to indicate it wants to play. They will also scratch on things they want. When a dog tilts its head it is trying to recognize unfamiliar sounds or it may be concentrating.
While there are many books that have been written about dog communication and communicating, the above is a common sense approach that will help all dog owners. Take the time to recognize the signs mentioned with your own pup. A little observation will go a long way and its fun. In no time the signs will become clearer and easier to read. This will also help you to increase your bonding by leaning dog language and communicating with your Cocker Spaniel.