Use words more than body language. Human beings communicate with rivers of words. Dogs can learn the meaning of some terms, but it is to our non-verbal language that they look more carefully. Fido is a true specialist in the interpretation of our expressions (he often realizes that something is wrong before we can consciously realize it) and has learned to respond coherently to the gestures we perform. We must be careful, therefore, to tell us with the body the opposite of what we are saying in words. If we ask him to sit while we wave our arms and run forward a few meters, the dog will tend to come towards us. Our call to sit could be confusing.
Hug him hard. Anyone with a dog feels overwhelmed with love for his four-legged friend. However, it would be better to avoid embracing it with all the impetus we are capable of. The hugs are part of the ethogram - that is the code of behavior - of the primates, like us. Dogs do not hug each other and if one puts a paw on the back of another, it is a sign of predominance. Man's best friend often tolerates our affections with affection, but it is easy to understand whether or not he likes such a close contact. If while you're hugging him he tends his ears, stiffens his muscles, licks his mouth and avoids eye contact, he's probably nervous: better to look for another more "canine" form of interaction.
Dog language: how much do you know?
Make him "pat pat" on the head. The head is a strictly personal space for dogs, as is the face for us humans. Fido can tolerate a few pats on the head because he is fond of us and recognizes us as masters, but this does not mean he likes (and even more so if he is a stranger to administer these attentions). If you want to reward him or show him affection, a nice rub on the back, near (but not on) the tail, or on the chest or in the area of the sternum, are more welcome cuddles. The threshold of physical contact that a dog can tolerate or appreciate depends largely on the type of breed and the nature of the animal itself.
Looking him in the eye. Approaching an unknown dog while gazing into his eyes - and maybe talking very loudly - is probably the worst way to establish a good friendship. You can be animated by the best intentions, but Fido will interpret this attitude as an aggressive behavior: he could start barking, or roll over on his back as a sign of submission. If you have to interact with a dog that you do not know, it is better to approach it slowly and with the body placed diagonally (not frontal and with the shoulders open: it could sound like a threat). Do not insist with the visual contact and reserved for the quadruped sweet words and with a medium low tone. It could be a great start.
Live without rules. Dogs, like humans, need rules. This does not mean training them to become perfect roommates, but neither leave them at the mercy of themselves, without limits or bans. A well-regulated living environment is more predictable for the dog, less confused and less stressful. However, Fido can understand a rule, but not the exception to the rule: he will not understand that he can jump on the couch when he has just been washed, but not if he is covered in mud. Nor that he can jump on you when you're in overalls, and not in the morning before you leave home ready for the office.
Force him to interact with dogs he doesn't like. Giving Fido positive encouragement to get him out of his bed and getting to know other dogs can be important, but it's good - as in all other situations - to pay attention to the signals the dog sends us, and not force him to face situations that show not to like. It is said that our dog gets along with that of our best friend. A forced dog, despite its social interaction, will be more aggressive towards other dogs. But before he gets to this he will have already launched a series of signals to read carefully (he ignores them, avoids them, growls).
Take it out just to pee. We frantic bipeds focused on work too often tend to take Fido for a walk just to allow him to fulfill his needs. But for a dog those twenty minutes of walking are very important. Letting it stop along the way to sniff the trunk of a tree or lose yourself behind a scent for a few moments is to support its most intrinsic nature. Preventing it would be like - for us - going out without allowing us to look up and admire a sunset. To make your walks better, it might be useful to overcome laziness and introduce some interesting variation to the usual layout inside the neighborhood.
Keep the leash too tight. For walks, dogs and peaceful owners, it is important to teach Fido to walk with a slow leash. A leash left soft informs our dog that we are calm, that the situation is under control and that he can relax and enjoy the walk. A too tight leash tells him just the opposite: I'm nervous, there's some danger, stay close to me, be ready: a dog with a leash too tight and too often pulled will tend to bark and tug the master more easily. And the vicious circle almost always starts with us.
Have a negative attitude. Dogs not only feel the tension on the leash. They also feel ours: if you are wondering why your four-legged friend is agitated, nervous and upset, try to understand how your mood was in the last hour. Fido understands our expressions, and behaves like a mirror. If you need a reason to relax and try to be more positive, well, you've found it.
Being boring. Imagine being forced to attend a boring conversation between adults, without having any way out. So that's exactly what our dog feels when, after he waited for us all day, we go back home and let ourselves be sucked into the routine of things to do. Making him stretch his legs in the open air is a good way to let him vent, but it is good to foresee some fun activities he can do even at home. Hide his favorite game in different places in the house, and invite him to find it with us; or organize a small treasure hunt by hiding perfumed rewards in some boxes, so that he can find them, they are stimulating activities that can break the boredom and entertain our dog.
Spite him. This last point is fairly obvious, yet some people continue to find it amusing. Don't pull the tail of the dogs (and teach the children not to do it), don't make fun of a dog that is barking at you, just because a window separates you; do not play a dog that barks along the road. The list could go on and on, but in this case, we know, it's a matter of common sense and good education.
Can you recognize the language of dogs? To top it off, we recommend that you take a simple test that you can find by following this link. We have taken a series of "expressions" typical of dogs and their language and we ask you to recognize their meaning.You might also like: Can you tell what your dog is saying? Wag your tail to the right or to the left? For dogs it is not the same thing. What is your dog thinking about? The fMRI tells you The language of the dog. Do you understand what your dog says? What are you saying Fido and Rex? Use words more than body language. Human beings communicate with rivers of words. Dogs can learn the meaning of some terms, but it is to our non-verbal language that they look more carefully. Fido is a true specialist in the interpretation of our expressions (he often realizes that something is wrong before we can consciously realize it) and has learned to respond coherently to the gestures we perform. We must be careful, therefore, to tell us with the body the opposite of what we are saying in words. If we ask him to sit while we wave our arms and run forward a few meters, the dog will tend to come towards us. Our call to sit could be confusing.