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Knowing how dogs communicate gives us an opportunity to understand them and get them to understand what we expect them to do
dogs with their owners

Advice to communicate with your dog

1. Get their attention: There is no point in trying to communicate with our Australian Cobberdog if we do not get their attention before. To do this, we will use their name or a gesture to do so.

2. Decide which words to use: Although dogs are very intelligent animals, they have difficulty distinguishing words with similar phonetics. This is why it is always advisable to set very specific and short words for each order and accompany them with a specific visual gesture.

3. Use positive reinforcement: The best tool for our dog to associate words with and understand us is positive reinforcement. Every time we say a word or indicate an order to our Australian Cobberdog and he acts accordingly, we should reward him. Dogs learn much faster by being rewarded.

4. Develop tolerance to frustration and reflection: If we are trying to communicate something to our dog and we are not able to make ourselves understood, it is advisable to stop and think about what is happening. On the one hand, we cannot expect the dog to understand something that it has never learned or been taught. On the other hand, if the dog does know in advance what we want to ask him and we do not get him to listen to us, we must think about what must be influencing us so that we are not effective. Yelling or punishing is completely inadvisable.

5. Repeat: It is important to continually reinforce those words and gestures that we use to communicate with the dog, as lack of practice can make the dog forget what the meaning of what we are trying to communicate had.

6. Observe the answer: Although the dogs do not speak, they respond to us through body gestures. Whatever the response of our dog may be, it will be important to try to find out what it means since it can give us clues to know if our dog understands what we are saying, if it feels positive or negative, or why he does not do what we are asking.


To communicate with our dog it is necessary to be able to understand it. We understand our dog when we are able to perceive all its body gestures and movements to acquire the maximum information about its character traits, its emotional state and, especially, its intentions in order to anticipate and act accordingly.

Some of the emotional states that the dog best expresses with its body are the following:


Generally, when a dog is relaxed and calm, it is easy to perceive this due to its relaxed posture and neutral expression on its face. His ears will be in the normal position, his tail will hang rather low, his mouth slightly open and his tongue will stick out, and his body in general will not appear to be bent or stretched. Perhaps they will squint their eyes and their neck and nose muscles will feel relaxed. The dog is relaxed and does not feel threatened by the environment around it and can interact with it.


The basic invitation of a dog that wants to play is bowing by flexing the front paws by stooping half of its body, while the hind paws are up. Its tail will be raised, and it will move from side to side while its mouth remains open with the tongue out. This posture can be accompanied by excited barking or playful attacks and withdrawals. This set of canine signals can be used as a kind of signal to indicate that any previous tense behaviour is not understood as a threat or challenge.


A dog that feels self-confident, if he is trying to exert some kind of authority or dominate another dog, will try to appear to the other as corpulent and strong as possible, with ears raised, head and neck straightened and the body in general slightly arched and completely in tension. If they also have their tail up, frown, and shows his teeth, they are not only expressing social dominance, but are also sending a message to others and might react if challenged.


When a dog is scared but is not submissive and can react negatively if challenged. Shown with frizzy hair, lowered body, ears to the back, wrinkled nose, shows the lips, tension in the mouth and the tail between the legs. A dog generally gives these canine body signals when it comes face to face with the person or animal that is threatening it.


If the dog has detected something of interest, or something unknown, it will use body signs to be alert and pay attention while it is examining the situation around it and determining whether there is a possible threat or whether to act. These signs will be raising the base of the ears to pick up the sound and make brief sniffs. It will probably stand upright and its legs will be tense and its body slightly inclined. He will stare intently at the element that arouses his interest, his mouth will remain closed and his tail will be horizontal (not bristling) making small movements to one side and the other. They may also move their head from side to side if they hear a sound that is very strange to them.


The dog that is afraid will put his puppy face trying to be as round as possible, with his ears back, soft forehead, trying to lick the threat and his eye contact will be indirect. The body will be lowered, the tail between the legs and it may lift one leg. These signs are designed to appease the individual who is of higher social status than he or the dogs he sees as a potential threat, in order to avoid any further challenge or conflict.


The dog shows his total surrender and submission when he turns on his back, partially closes his eyes, turns his head to the side avoiding eye contact, the tail hides it towards the belly, the ears back and he may urinate. The dog is trying to say that he accepts his minor condition by humbling himself to a higher rank than he does or to the threat he feels hopeful in avoiding a physical confrontation.


If the dog is stressed, anxious, or upset or worried, whether for social reasons or the environment around him, he will lower his tail, pull his ears back, and lower his body. They may also gasp quickly and have dilated pupils. These signals, however, are a general "demonstration" of their mood and are not being specifically communicated to anyone else.


When dogs start to get stressed, they can manifest it in many different ways. Dogs are stressed in situations of fear, pain, or discomfort. They can be stressed when we get angry, when we correct them, when events happen at high speed and, in general, when they feel that they are not capable of solving a situation. It is very important to know how to recognise the signs shown by the dog that is stressed, in order to measure its degree of stress and, if necessary, reverse the situation and return it to a neutral state.

If a dog lives with high levels of stress on a daily basis, it will have gastric, allergic and heart problems. Their defence mechanisms will be faster and more violent when dealing with stressful situations and their defence mechanism will probably be activated before other individuals. That is, it will overreact.

Although we must avoid at all costs that these stress signals are repeated often and become a serious health problem for our Australian Cobberdog, it is important not to overprotect the dog from stress. Practicing situations that provoke stress in our dog progressively and in a controlled way is positive, since with them he practices his tolerance to stress and makes him a more versatile dog for any type of circumstance that occurs. If we attend to any sign of stress, we will make our dog into a being incapable of supporting any type of demand.

Reasons a dog can feel stress

  • Direct threats (from dogs and humans).
  • Violence, anger or aggression in their environment.
  • Correction by belt whipping, push him to lie down, drag him.
  • Excessive daily or training demands.
  • Too much exercise.
  • Little activity.
  • Hunger or thirst.
  • Excessive heat or cold.
  • Pain and disease.
  • Excessive noise.
  • Loneliness.
  • Games that increase its excitability.
  • Impossibility to relax, are always looking for attention.
  • Sudden changes.

Signs of stress

  • Shows hyperactivity.
  • Reacts excessively to events and situations.
  • He scratches.
  • He bites himself.
  • It exhibits destructive behaviour biting objects in its environment.
  • Barks, howls, or cries.
  • His muscles are tense.
  • It shakes.
  • It licks insistently.
  • Tries to bite his tail.
  • Show poor health.
  • Shortness of breath, shaking.
  • Loss of concentration, only concentrated for short periods of time.
  • Trembling.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Allergies.
  • Behaves aggressively.

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