Thanks for the fantastic question!
Dogs are highly social animals that live in
groups, and so they need to communicate with
each other to be successful members of the
pack. Dogs communicate to each other and with
humans in many different ways using their body,
vocalizations, and even scents. It is
important that dogs, and people, are able to tell
how another dog is feeling, especially if a dog is
frightened or upset.
Like humans, much of dog communication is done
through their body language. Maybe most
notably, dogs use their tails to convey their
mood, with a wagging tail implying a dog is
excited, and usually happy. A dog’s ears also
reveal their emotions. When the ears are low
and back, it could mean the dog is upset or
afraid. Dogs also use different movements to
communicate, for instance you may have seen a
play bow, where a dog is down on its front
legs, but has its rear-end in the air. This means
the dog is feeling playful!
Dogs also use their bark, and all sort
of other noises to communicate. Barks can be used
to let other dogs know they are nearby, or to
alert a human about something they see or smell.
Beyond barks, dogs can make all sorts of other
meaningful noises, such as growls and
snarls to warn others to stay away, whines
that mean a dog is afraid, and moans that means
the dog is happy.
A dog’s sense of smell is 40 times more
sensitive than a human’s, and scents provide
another form of communication between dogs. Dogs
often will greet each other by sniffing or licking
each other. This results in the transfer of
special chemicals called pheromones, which
provide all sorts of information from dog to dog,
including their mood, their gender, and their age.
Scents are how dogs find their friends!
Thanks again for the great question,
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