Somehow, we know exactly what our dogs want. Whether it’s going for a walk, a treat, or attention, our four legged friends have a unique way of communicating with us.
According to research by Pet Munchies and K9 Magazine, nearly two thirds of dog owners say their pets use a ‘look’ to communicate needs, instead of barking, whining, or nudging their owners like we might expect.
The study examined 1,100 dog owners, asking them questions about how they interact with their pets. We’re all familiar with ‘puppy eyes’ to convince owners to give them what they want, but the study revealed that dogs use ‘intense eye contact’ to communicate wants or needs too.
Dogs often use this intense stare when they are expressing their concern over the welfare of humans.
Findings also revealed other common dog behaviours, which depended on circumstances. 39 per cent of those surveyed said that their pets stood at the door to tell them that they wanted to go outside.
7.2 per cent revealed that their dog would steal things in order to get attention from their owner, as this technique would draw attention to them.
Dog owners also told researchers what they’d like to communicate with their dogs. 40 per cent said they’d like to ask their pets what they could do to make them happier, and a further 19 per cent said they wished they could ask their pets if they felt unwell.
18 per cent of those surveyed even said they’d like to ask their dog about their past, so they could understand them better.
K9 Magazine’s Ryan O’Meara owns three dogs, and said, “Learning how to 'talk dog' is extremely important. It's crucial to understand what our dogs are trying to tell us when they communicate with us.
"One of the ways dogs have always communicated with humans is through studying our eyes. Over the decades, dogs have learnt to learn to judge our mood and character, for example, by staring at us. This is a dog's way of trying to actually talk to us. They know we will understand what they are trying to tell us because as our relationships with dogs have evolved, we have learnt to read their signals as well as they read ours."
Ryan went on to confirm the ‘look’, adding, “Over the years, they've extended how they talk to us using their gaze with the evolution of the 'puppy dog eyes' look, which is designed to pull on our heartstring by mimicking the wide-eyed look of babies."
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Lucy Buglass is a Digital Writer specialising in TV, film and lifestyle content and has written for What's On TV, GoodtoKnow and Whattowatch.com. She's passionate about entertainment and spends most of her free time watching Netflix series, BBC dramas, or going to the cinema to catch the latest film releases. In her spare time, she writes film and television reviews for JumpCut Online and her own blog, Lucy Goes To Hollywood.
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