Deciphering Pooch Secrets!

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Varsha Verma with Rocky
Quite often we think what if our pooch could talk? Well, they do. They give signals of what they want to speak. It is our responsibility to understand them correctly. Let’s see how. –by Varsha Verma

My five-year-old Pomeranian, Rocky, knows how to communicate his needs to us. When he is hungry and if I am working in the kitchen, he will make an eye contact with me and sit on the floor with his head touching the ground and his eyes looking at me, constantly, without a wink. He will continue to stare at me until I give him a treat he wants. The moment I give him the treat, he will happily get up, take it and savour it on a mat or sofa.

Each pooch is different and so are their ways. Here are a few common communication signals dogs give to pet parents.

They know scientific law: Often when we take our dogs out for poop, they will not do their business right away. They will spin around, sniffing for the right place. This is because dogs poop in alignment with the Earth’s magnetic field. They poop only when they align themselves to the north-south axis and not the east-west. Now, how do dogs know the directions? That’s another story.

Not all wags are friendly: Generally speaking, a tail-wagging dog is a happy dog. Not always! See the position of the tail. If the tail is loose, high-swaying, moving side-to-side, your pooch is happy. If the tail is held high and swaying rigidly, your dog is excited or agitated. Also look at their face. Tense muscles, dilated pupils, pinned ears – hold on, your dog is not happy.

When they show destructive behaviour: When Rocky was a puppy, I had to hide my slippers because he would quietly sit in a corner and chew them. That’s when I realised he needs his own chew toys. Sometimes, dogs show destructive behaviour because they want our attention. So, before you yell at them for their behaviour, try to understand what they want.

Dogs love surprises and challenges: Dogs also get bored. They need to exercise their minds and stimulate their senses. Give them a challenging toy to play, hide their treats and let them sniff around, take them out to new places, let them smell the new scents et al.

Throwing toy forward using their mouths: This is something very amusing to watch. Often, Rocky will come to our room, take his toy in his mouth and throw it up in the air. While you might think that he wants to play, you are wrong. He wants something to eat. Sometimes, Rocky will pick up my slipper and throw it up in air, if I don’t feed him right away!

Don’t confuse them: If one person in the family thinks that it is ok for the dog to jump on the bed while the other one shouts at him for this act, the dog will get confused. So, if you want your dog to display certain behaviour, be consistent with them and make sure that all people in the family are on the same page. If suddenly your dog displays irrelevant behaviour, take him to the vet immediately.

Don’t give in to all their innocent looks: Rocky was not well and was not eating properly. So, the vet advised to give him a little vanilla ice-cream. We did and he was elated. Now, whenever we are eating ice-cream, he will come and look at us with those soulful eyes, showing he is very sick and wants some. Well, we know it is just his way to getting things his way. Watch out for the innocent looks, asking you to share your delicacies. Once you give in to their request, they will do it all the time, leading to weight gain and other health issues.

Rubbing his head and leaning on you: We all can decipher this sign. Yes, they need just our affection and nothing else. They want to be patted, stroked and be with us for some time. This is absolutely relaxing for the dog lover too!

They are not guilty even when they look: Whenever we scold Rocky, he will sit in a corner, trying to hide in his own skin. His tail is under his body and ears are drooped. He will avoid eye contact and look guilty. But he understands that I am upset but why, he doesn’t know. The moment I will speak to him affectionately, he will come running to me, his tail wagging and eyes shining with happiness.

Yawning does not mean he is sleepy: If you see your dog yawning, he may be tired, scared or even stressed out. Look at his body language to guess correctly.

Not happy sleeping all day: While you are at work and you leave your dog alone for a long period of time, they might sleep the whole day. But they are not happy to be alone. Find a dog walker who can help while you are out.

You can teach an old dog a new trick: Yes, you read it right. Dogs love to please their pet parents. So, even if your dog is old, teach him a new trick. He might take time to master it, but he will be so happy when he sees a smile on your face.

Old doesn’t mean no exercise: If your dog is old, do take him for walks, but shorter ones. They do need exercise to stay fit.

Love you all the way: You are their whole life; they are happy to see you whenever you are home, wagging their tails in delight. They will love you.

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