We have two English Springer Spaniels (I know, what were we thinking?) They are tornadoes of adorable chaos. Meet Loki and Obi-Wan
Obi and Loki whilst are the same breed and a similar age (there’s only one year between them) they are completely different in their behaviour and personalities. Much like chalk and cheese, if chalk and cheese were pups of boundless energy.
We’ve always had a dog, before Obi came along we had Sandy, our German Shepard who passed away at the grand age of 16. We were familiar with working breeds, but nothing could prepare us for Obi.
Bless his little floppy ears, he certainly was a conundrum. As a young pup we noticed a huge difference in Obi and our previous dogs, he was incredibly nervous. Obi ran from everything and developed a serious case of separation anxiety. He was never left alone for longer than an hour, but he chewed, boy did he chew; he howled, he cried, not even crate training helped. He wouldn’t eat food from his bowl unless the bowl was in the same room as his humans and puppy training classes were stressful.
It took us a while to read Obi and understand his needs, once we learned how to read him he was like a new dog. He went from being pup with his tail between his legs to a dog that is great to work with. Obi improved even more so when we brought home his little brother, Loki. Obi no longer suffers from separation anxiety, now that he has a little pal to keep him company.
Because of the problems that we ran into with Obi, we researched a lot and discovered that whilst we couldn’t really communicate with him, we could understand his body language. Body language is something that is overlooked a lot with dogs but it can tell you so much about their wants and needs. It’s even useful to know when they are sick because after all, they can’t exactly tell us “hey, I’m not feeling great”. Actions speak louder than words when it comes to dogs and they can communicate a lot if you just look for the signs. They can let you know when they aren’t happy, when they are sick, they can even let you know when they need something extra in their diets.
A lot of the dog’s body language is subtle, but its there. Here are a few ways in which you can interpret it:
– Wagging tails: This is an obvious one, if your dogs tail is wagging excitedly then they are happy.
– Body low at the front and high at the back: your dog is in a playful state and can often bark out of excitedness as they let you know that they want to play.
– Lip licking: quite often dogs will lick their lips when anxious
– Yawning: Again another sign of a dog being anxious
– Low cowering posture: the dog is frightened of something
– Wrinkled nose with lips drawn back and teeth visible: Your dog is angry and not pleased. This can often be accompanied by a low growling and tense body
– Sudden changes in personality from your dog can also indicate that there is something wrong, they could be unwell or in pain.
– Changes in fur condition, excessive licking and repetitive behaviour can also indicate a health problem
If you would like to know how to understand your furry little companion more, take a look at this infographic from Vitabiotics