The great detective, Sherlock Holmes, famously said: “Observation is key, not just seeing.”
This same principle applies should you want to be more in tune with your hound’s way of thinking and be able to confidently exercise control over them and their actions. So many dog owners struggle to understand their pet’s behavior and are unable to communicate with them because while they see what they are doing, they forget to look deeper and observe the Hows and Whys.
This is important as it means some owners don’t have the confidence to prevent and manage potential tricky situations. The worst-case scenario is becoming the nervous owner of a nervous dog.
The most important tip is to learn the signs of dog body language:
You can tell your dog is alert when his/hers tails is gently swinging and body is moved towards an interest, eyes are focused and mouth could be gently opened.
If your dog is getting nervous with tail tucked under the body or waging very low and back slightly arched with whole body unfocused, you can prevent an escalation of the situation by removing the cause of nervousness. Large objects, bicycles in the way or opened umbrella.
Or you could offer reassurance, put him or her on the lead and/or leave the area before your dog feels insecure and starts acting out.
If your dog is becoming overexcited or bullish in a group of other dogs this could be a sign of lack of exercise, poor socialization or even emerging resource guarding behavior.
As you learn more about dog body language you will understand the communication between other dogs too… for example, you will be able to tell from a distance if an approaching dog is friendly and if your pet does or does not want to be introduced to them.
Observing and doing all of the above (stepping in the right time, offer an protection or being relaxed) will mean your dog will learn to trust your judgment in turn you will become more confident in your ability to assess their needs and face challenges together.