How do dogs communicate?

Communication is part of any relationship, whether it's between humans or with our pets, who are always ready to communicate with other dogs or with us. Now, because we are different species, it is easy to make mistakes and misinterpret what a dog expresses. In this article we want to explain how dogs communicate, because although on the surface we may believe that canine communication is simple, in reality these animals have a complex language and different ways of expressing their needs and intentions to other individuals.

Canine language

At this point we advise you to follow this special info for more understanding. We commonly refer to communication as an action by which a sender transmits information to a receiver, with the intention that, later on, the said receiver gives a response or, to better understand it, makes a change according to the sender's intention, despite the fact that the receiver does not always direct his action in the desired direction.

This process is not carried out by humans, but the vast majority of species communicate between individuals of the same species (interspecific interaction) or of different species (interspecific). Well, although dogs don't use words like we do, they transmit information to each other by sight, sound and smell.

Do dogs understand each other?

Many times there is the mistaken belief that dogs, because they are dogs, understand each other perfectly, because canine language is instinctive, a fact that can cause conflicts and bad experiences. And, while it is true that this aspect has an innate component, the language of dogs is also strongly influenced by learning, since it is shaped and developed over time from birth.

Therefore, it is not surprising that the majority of dogs that show conflictual behaviors with others of the same species are many times due to the fact that they have not had an adequate socialization or that they lack healthy and sufficient relationships with other dogs.

What do we mean by this statement? The reality is that much of the dog language that an adult expresses is learned as a puppy, especially during the socialization phase. Because, although puppies already know instinctively how to communicate their needs (they cry for food, protection, express when they want to play...), it is the interaction with other dogs during this stage that will allow them to carry the learning that will determine their adult language. 

This implies that a dog that has had a bad socialization (for example, with only one dog), will not understand or communicate in the most efficient way with other dogs, giving rise to insecurities or misunderstandings that can cause conflicts. In short, here are the essentials to remember about how dogs communicate.