Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
I work from home — alone — with the diva poodle, Henrietta, and because of that I talk to her. A lot. Yes, there are four cats, another dog and a bearded dragon in the house, but because Henrietta is pretty much attached to my leg most of the day, we share conversations.
I’m sure you’ve done the same, right? “So, Hen what should we have for lunch?” or “Henrietta, I cannot believe what I just read on the internet! A cat throwing out the first pitch!?” or “BigFoot was spotted in Virginia, hope he doesn’t come to live in the woods behind our house!” or the ever popular, “Does this blouse match my earrings.”
Granted, she doesn’t always respond other than to the word “lunch” and “who wants to do outs?’ or “who wants some love?” but the twitching of the ears, the brightly perked up gaze or the frenetic hopping leads me to believe she is responding to my comments.
There are also the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, body language cues I pick up from her. The droopy tail when she doesn’t feel quite up to snuff. The prancing around the door when she hears the UPS man coming up the driveway. The low throated growl (I call it a purr!) when the cats have the nerve to come and lie next to her in the sun. There are also the truly subtle things she does like stare at me when she needs to go outside to do her business, or the nudging of her head under my hand when she wants to be petted or even the scratching when she has been without attention for too long.
Understanding the cues your dog gives off, especially in unfamiliar situations and surroundings is critical for both you as a dog owner and for someone who may be approaching with the, “I want to pet your dog” gaze.
I came across an article that illustrates dog body language and felt it was appropriate for Memorial Day weekend as many of us will be hosting friends and family and that may mean our pet in put into a situation that they either aren’t comfortable with or are unfamiliar with. As pet parents it’s our responsibility to make sure our pets are safe and comfortable and to help avoid any dog bite issues because someone simply didn’t read the clues.
The same type cues should be easy for a cat parent to decipher as well. I know with my cats that they are not subtle when they are scared or angry or just a little bit miffed with us. The laying back of the ears, the puffy tails and the ever popular growling or hissing are dead giveaways that you might want to step off a bit and let them settle their differences or risk a scratched hand.
Be safe and have a wonderful Memorial Day!
(Photo Shutterstock: Kitten and puppy sleeping)