Talk:Dog communication

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Okay, but what does it mean when a dog cocks his head? — Phil Welch 30 June 2005 10:25 (UTC)

It's an inquisitive gesture, just like in humans. The dog is paying closer attention to something. Lachatdelarue (talk) 30 June 2005 14:44 (UTC)
That's what I thought, but I suppose there should be something in the article about it since it's a fairly common gesture among dogs. — Phil Welch 30 June 2005 19:33 (UTC)


I believe there is a misunderstanding of the words "dominance" and "submission" in this article. The author states "Dominance and submission are often mistaken to be part of normal social behaviors for dogs. They are not." The word "dominant" does not imply aggression, or intimidation. It is pretty much established that most canines form packs given the opportunity, and that said packs have established leaders and followers. Implicit in this, is the fact that canine packs have a social hierarchy. Aggressive physical confrontations are generally avoided as the injury of a single member can jeopardize the survival of the pack. The hierarchical structure of the pack is established and reinforced by communicative sounds and body language including dominant and submissive gestures. Many human dog owners are unaware of these innate canine communicative gestures and consequently confuse their dog as to their position in the "pack". This can result in anxiety and behavioral problems in the canine. DAS2011 (talk) 02:57, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

"Dominance only occurs when resources like food and space are limited. Therefore dominance can be displayed in canines that are in captivity. In the wild dominance is rare; the most suited one will become the "pack leader"."

This statement seems out of place on this page-- it seems more relevant to, say, the Dog_behavior page rather than the dog communication page... and it's contradicting the information there: "In wild wolf packs, displays of dominance have been observed [...]". Shadowstar (talk) 02:57, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

The entire article is in major need of an overhaul. It reads like a dog-owner telling you their own personal interpretation of Fluffy's behavior. Even the facts that seem valid are still folk psychology. It needs to be replaced with a good overview of the scientific study of canine communication. Once thats done, minor issues like this should become moot.--Thesoxlost (talk) 05:16, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Well put--almost all folk psychology. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:12, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Speaking of dominance, what about a dog laying a front paw on a person's foot? Supposedly it's a sign of wanting attention, or maybe "I own you."... Maxaxle (talk) 00:25, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

It's unclear to me when the comment about the article needing a "major overhaul" was made in relationship to any revisions. Regardless of the timing, the comment's wholesale dismissiveness and thoughtlessness put it out of bounds. Even if the article had exhibited errors in tone and documentation, such a comment would be inappropriate and unhelpful. But this article's claims are well documented, and the tone is aptly neutral. A very interesting and thorough entry!

Please think twice before pouncing on a fellow author. If you have a suggestion, make it specific, and offer it with generosity. Thanks. KC 03:15, 3 January 2016 (UTC)

Improvement needed to this article[edit]

Hello all. After some initial weeding and pruning of dead wood in this article, what becomes clear is that the main problem is much of the material under Visual communication and Auditory communication remains uncited - all of the information under the sub-headings e.g. Teeth baring, Growl, Howls. This page was established by User:Lachatdelarue in 2004 and who ceased activity in 2008, so we cannot ask the original editor where it came from. However, keying a few phrases from the sub-headings into a search engine shows that much of it has come from however that website does not cite where the original information came from. Does anybody have any views on how we might approach improving this article, please? Regards, William Harristalk • 12:33, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

This matter has now been actioned. William Harristalk • 11:07, 13 July 2015 (UTC)

Talking doggerel section[edit]

I know that this will upset some, but I really think the entire "Talking Doggerel" section should be deleted (or perhaps have just a passing mention). This section is about the way that humans behave towards animals, not the way that dogs communicate. In my opinion it is non-encyclopaedic and certainly requires more than only 1 accessible source for verification for such a large section.DrChrissy (talk) 23:46, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

I agree and find the sole reference to be rather suspect given that it is a manual on how one can learn to communicate with your dog. As far as I have found on Google Scholar, the author, Stanley Coren, appears to be a neuropsychologist with published research on lateralization and no mention of work on ethology. Without more information about his authority on the issue, the reference, by itself, is a weak secondary source and the section should be considered for deletion. Maccaughanc (talk) 06:09, 29 August 2015 (UTC)

Disagree for 3 reasons.
  1. Stanley Coren would rank as the grand-master of dog intelligence (where have you people been over the past 30 years?). Goggle Scholar eh? "A weak secondary source" - you will need to explain how so? I find it curious because this whole article is based on Coren yet there is no criticism of him elsewhere in it. Prior to this, the article was based on copy-and-paste from dog training websites without citation. Feel free to do some research for other research that supports it - I am sure it is out there.
  2. "Dog communication is about how dogs "speak" to each other, how they understand messages that humans send to them, and how humans can translate the ideas that dogs are trying to transmit", so it says at the start of the article. So I assume how humans behave towards the dog fits if the dog responds in some way. Which they do - here I disagree with Coren because there is a response from the dog. (The proof is in observation - I do this daily.) And if there is a response, there is communication.
  3. Have you not looked at the world around you and how people talk to their dogs? Do you not recognise this? Do you even own a dog?

I am happy for DrChrissy to prune it severely, but I think mentioning the topic in some form has merit. NB: I do not watch this page. Regards, William Harristalk • 10:53, 17 September 2015 (UTC)