Scientists Identify 19 Gestures Used By Dogs Communicating With Humans


Scientists have identified 19 gestures that dogs use to communicate with humans, including jumping up and down, rolling over, wiggling underneath a person, and standing on hind legs.

The research team has actually identified 47 potential gestures, but only 19 of them have been translated so far. What pet owners previously thought was just regular dog behavior could actually mean that their dogs are trying to say something to them

How Do Dogs Communicate With Humans?

In a study published on the Animal Cognition journal, scientists from the School of Environment and Life Sciences of the United Kingdom's University of Salford presented their findings on gestures and signals that dogs use to communicate with humans. The researchers analyzed a total of 242 videos of 37 dogs who were filmed doing their daily routines.

The scientists discovered that the dogs used similar gestures to say what they wanted. They identified 47 potential gestures, but were only able to understand what 19 of them meant.

Some messages, such as wanting food, were shown through a variety of gestures, while some messages were shown through distinct methods. The dogs used different signals to ask for the same thing, but each one remained consistent with their own signals.

What Is My Dog Trying To Tell Me?

Dogs communicate not only through their barks, but also to their body movement and other forms of behavior. Surprisingly, most of the gestures mean "scratch me," and not "feed me."

Here are the translations of what dogs are trying to say, based on their gestures:

Scratch Me

  • Gently biting a person's arm
  • Lifting a back leg while lying on the side
  • Lifting a paw and placing it on a person
  • Licking the person or object
  • Making short shuffles on the ground while rolling over
  • Pressing the nose into a person or object
  • Rolling over in front of a person
  • Rubbing the head while leaning against a person

Feed Me

  • Holding a paw in the air while in sitting position
  • Standing on hind legs
  • Turning the head from side to side, looking at the human and an object
  • Using the head and snout to move a person's hand to its body
  • Using the mouth to throw a toy forward

Play With Me

  • Diving headfirst under a person or object
  • Reaching a paw toward an object
  • Touching a person with a paw briefly
  • Wiggling the body under a person or object

Open The Door For Me

  • Jumping up and down in the same location
  • Lifting the front paws off the ground and placing them on a person or object


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