When working with animals, we need to learn their body language to understand them better. The signs they use trying to communicate with us are mostly delicate and it takes time to start noticing them. When the situation escalates, the dogs’ gestures become more clear and for everyone to understand, like growling, biting or the whole body jiggle of joy. But the most of the communication is in the micro expressions like eye movement, ear movement, licking, panting, tail position and so on.
When a dog tries to communicate with us, it starts with small gestures. If we pick those gestures and give feedback to the animal right after, communication has taken place. The dog learns, that we understand those little signs and starts using them more often.
The communication works also the other way around. Dogs pick up all the micro expressions that we use unconsciously among all the more visible and audible sings that we use. You might have noticed that your dog seems to know if you are on a bad mood, even though you try to hide it? Or how sometimes it feels like your dog is reading your mind before you have physically reacted yourself?
Dogs spend a lot of their time observing us humans. Whenever we spend time with them, they observe us, as we are most likely the access to all the fun in life: food, walks, toys, doggie friends and so on. So they become masters reading our body language.
To learn more about our dogs, we should spend time observing them. Observe them interacting with ourselves, with other people and with other dogs. To find the small gestures they use to communicate and the ones that they read and react on others. After learning to read these gestures and understanding the signs that they give, we have the opportunity to communicate both ways.
Communication is essential in everyday life with dogs, but it also plays a big role in scent work.