- communications


Dog at play
Dogs at play

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Canis lupus familiaris



Like other social species dogs use various means to communicate that include body positioning, head, ears and tail moving, expressive use of eyes, lips, and teeth. Vocal repertoire includes barking, howling, growling, grunting, and whimpering.

Many contexts of dog communications exist such as courtship, acquaintance with strangers, communication during cooperative hunting, communications between members of a pack, mother and pups communications, and social play.

Domestic dogs' outstanding communicative skills (sometimes rivaling that of chimpanzees) stem from their descending from wolves that are highly social canids unlike, for example, coyotes, as well as are result of domestication.

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Social play

Social play combines most of the contexts of dog communications modes during their adult lives including elements of ritualized courtship behavior (mounting), aggressive displays (grunting, teeth baring, etc.), stereotyped acquainting sequences (extensive posturing, sniffing, etc.) and others in random manner.

Social play in canids and other social mammals has the following characteristics:

Dog's play face

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Play-signaling and attention-getting patterns in dogs' play (not ehxaustive list)

Exaggerated approach attention-getter

Exaggerated approach

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Exaggerated retreat attention-getter

Exaggerated retreat

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Play-bow play signal

One of the most familiar playful postures: paws are firmly planted on the ground and spread apart slightly; rump is raised; tail is erect and wagging.

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Chase-me play signal

Chase me play signal

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In-your-face attention-getter

Dog positions his body or face inches from other's face.

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Self-present attention-getter

Dog approaches or leaps up toward the other dog trying to make brief eye contact.

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Open-mouth play signal

Frontal display with lips and teeth showing, no biting; front legs stiff, head tilted, body oriented toward playmate. "Gleeful", excited and expectant expression is unmistakable.

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Paw (attenttion getter): paw at other's face or body

Dog's play pawing Photo credit: - cool photos of animals with funny descriptions (in Russian)

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Bite at (attenttion getter): biting at air in the direction of , but not touching, other dog

Dog's play biting at Photo credit: - cool photos of animals with funny descriptions (in Russian)

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Bite (attenttion getter): making firm mouth contact with other's body part

Dog's play biting Photo credit: - cool photos of animals with funny descriptions (in Russian)

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