Dog Speak. The “Tail” Ends
by: Judy Hamontre, AVHS Volunteer
Pip, my 14 year old miniature schnauzer just whined. She also is looking at me with those pleading puppy-dog eyes. She is saying, “Pet me, please.” If someone were to come to the door, she would bark a greeting, but if the guest were to move to pet her, she would growl a warning, “Do not touch me. I have arthritis, and you might hurt me.”
This is “Pip Speak.” Every dog has his own unique way of talking. We humans just need to know how to listen, observe and decipher.
Dogs bark and growl, which is where this tale began in my previous article. They may also whine, whimper, yelp, howl, sing and even purr.
Whining and whimpering are used by dogs, and puppies especially, to get attention. Your dog might be telling you that he needs something, such as a trip outside, dinner, playtime or a good belly rub. This whine is often accompanied by a puppy-dog stare or a paw on a lap. He is simply saying, “Hear me.”
Your furry friend may be whimpering because he is in pain. If so, he may also be crouching with his head or ears down. Check for an injury or illness. A sharp yelp may be emitted if you find the tender spot.
Dogs also whine when they’re scared or anxious, as during a thunderstorm or when left alone. Trembling often accompanies this whimper.
Finally, many dogs whine with joy. Excited wiggling and jumping complete their message of happiness.
Howling is a reminder that dogs descended from wolves. Some breeds revel in making this sound while others never utter these deep-throated calls.
Your “howler” may be signaling his location or claiming his territory. He may want attention or his cry may be set off by another howl or a siren. Some dogs simply have pent-up energy they need to release, the same way humans may issue a cathartic scream.
Rather than howling, some dogs prefer to sing. We may never know why dogs sing, but experts think that like howling, it is a leftover instinctual reaction from their wild cousins, the wolves.
Dogs aren’t in pain nor hearing something in a frequency that hurts their ears. Most who engage in singing enjoy it, and so do their owners.
Many dogs learn that these noises get them results they want and continue to use them to talk to their humans.
Purring is not only done by cats. A few dogs make a similar “brrr,” grumbling sound often referred to as “rumbles.” This sound indicates happiness, often occurring when the dog is about to do an enjoyable activity like riding in a car or receiving a good belly rub.
Dogs definitely talk to us in many varying ways. They have a lot to say to the humans they unconditionally love. It is only fair that we listen when they “Speak.”
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