Understanding Your Shihpoo's Emotions through Reading their Body Language and Behavior

Yawn, Hate, Lick, Love, Bow, Play

Deciphering Your Shihpoo’s Dog Language Ah, the delightful world of Shihpoos! These furry companions have a unique way of communicating that goes beyond barks and woofs. It’s almost like they have their very own dog language, one that is loaded with loving cuddles, playful nudges, and heart-melting stare-downs. And if you pay close attention, you…

Deciphering Your Shihpoo’s Dog Language

Ah, the delightful world of Shihpoos! These furry companions have a unique way of communicating that goes beyond barks and woofs. It’s almost like they have their very own dog language, one that is loaded with loving cuddles, playful nudges, and heart-melting stare-downs. And if you pay close attention, you can become fluent in their adorable non-verbal cues.

In this guide, we’ll explore the intricate art of understanding your Shihpoo’s dog language and how it can strengthen the bond with your fur baby. So, let’s dive right in and decode those playful expressions!

Different Things Your Shihpoo Wants You To Understand in Your Relationship

Shihpoos are remarkably expressive, and their dog language is quite elaborate. To truly connect with your pup, it’s essential to recognize what they’re trying to convey. Here are some key emotions and desires your Shihpoo might want you to understand:

  • Unhappy: Signs of discomfort or displeasure.
  • Content: The happy, relaxed state your pup loves.
  • Frustrated: When things aren’t going their way.
  • Scared: The need for reassurance.
  • Anxious: Worries and uneasiness.
  • Strong: Display of assertiveness.
  • Tired: A clear indicator of fatigue.
  • Hungry: The universal sign for “Feed me!”
  • Potty: Signaling the need for a bathroom break.
  • Submissive: Showing deference or subordination.
  • Playful: Ready to romp and frolic.

Body Parts a Shihpoo Uses to Communicate

Now that you’re familiar with what’s on your Shihpoo’s mind, let’s delve into the tools they use to express themselves. Shihpoos, like many dogs, have a wide range of physical postures to express themselves:

  • Relaxed Stance: When your Shihpoo is calm and content, they may have a relaxed body posture with their weight evenly distributed on all four legs.
  • Play Bow: An unmistakable sign of playfulness, where they lower their front end and raise their rear, often accompanied by wagging their tail.
  • Tense or Stiff Body: This could indicate discomfort or readiness for action.
  • Cowering or Hunching: A clear sign of fear or submission.
  • Raised Hackles: When the hair along their back stands on end, it’s a sign of heightened alertness, possibly due to excitement or agitation. Many Shihpoos like our own, though, have such curly hair that it becomes nearly impossible to see any raised hair on their backs.
  • Rolling on Their Back: A submission gesture, indicating that they trust you and are open to belly rubs. Not all Shihpoos love belly rubs. Neither of our Shihpoos much cares for them.
  • Sideways Stance: Sometimes, a sideways stance can indicate uncertainty or curiosity.

Eyes: The windows to their soul

Shihpoos convey a lot through their eyes, and you can pick up on various expressions:

  • Soft Gaze: A relaxed and content Shihpoo will have soft, half-closed eyes.
  • Intense Stare: If they are fixated on something, it could be a sign of curiosity or alertness.
  • Squinting: This can indicate happiness and trust, often referred to as a “smile.”
  • Wide Eyes: Wide, open eyes can signal surprise or fear.
  • Blinking Slowly: A slow blink is a sign of affection and trust.
  • Avoiding Eye Contact: Turning their head or avoiding eye contact can be a sign of submission or discomfort.

Tongue & Mouth: A Sign of How Your Shihpoo Reacts to Different Situations

Your Shihpoo’s tongue and mouth movements can reveal much about their feelings and thoughts:

  • Panting: Panting is a way for dogs to regulate their body temperature, but excessive panting can also indicate stress or anxiety.
  • Lip Licking: This can be a sign of nervousness or uncertainty.
  • Smiling: A relaxed and open-mouthed smile usually signals contentment rather than happiness.
  • Growling, Snarling, or Showing Teeth: This is a clear indication of aggression or discomfort.

Paw Gestures with Their Furry Extremities

Shihpoos use their paws for communication in various ways:

  • Pawing at You or Tapping Your Leg: Light pawing at you can be a sign of attention or a request for affection.
  • Lifting a Paw: If they lift one paw, it can be a sign of uncertainty or curiosity.
  • Digging: Neither of our Shihpoos has ever done much digging, but this can be an instinctive behavior and can also be a sign of boredom or a desire to play.
  • Paw Over the Muzzle: A playful or submissive gesture, often seen during play.

The Shihpoo’s Tail: An Ever-moving Flag of Emotion

The tail is a dynamic indicator of your Shihpoo’s emotions.

  • Wagging Tail: The most well-known sign of happiness and excitement. The speed and height of the wag can convey different levels of enthusiasm.
  • Tucked Tail Between Legs: A tucked tail is a clear sign of fear or submission.
  • Raised Tail: A high, stiff tail often indicates alertness or potential aggression.
  • Low Wagging Tail: A lower wagging tail can signify submission or insecurity.
  • Curling Tail: A tail curled over the back can indicate confidence or playfulness.

Physical Needs Your Shihpoo Tells You About

  • Potty: When your Shihpoo does the potty dance. Our own Shihpoos will paw at our knees when then need to get outside for relief. Or, they might just stand near the door and look at us every time we’re nearby.
  • Fatigue: The universal signal for naptime. When your Shihpoo is feeling tired, they may use various body language and actions to communicate their need for rest:

Why Dogs Yawn

Dogs yawn for a variety of reasons, sometimes to express fatigue or boredom like their humans, but other times to express discomfort or disatisfaction
  • Yawning and Stretching: Just like humans, dogs yawn when they’re tired. This is often accompanied by a big, satisfying stretch.
  • Nestling or Snuggling: Your Shihpoo might seek out a comfortable spot or cuddle with you when they’re feeling sleepy.
  • Low Energy: As they become fatigued, their movements may slow down, and they may become less enthusiastic about play or activity.
  • Seeking a Quiet Place: They may retreat to a quiet, cozy corner of the room or their bed to indicate their desire for a nap

Your Shihpoo Is Telling You They’re Hunger or Have Too Much Energy

  • Hunger: That eager “feed me now” expression. When your Shihpoo is hungry, they can be quite expressive:
    • Puppy Dog Eyes: They might look at you with big, pleading eyes, hoping to catch your attention and sympathy.
    • Whining or Barking: If their hunger becomes more urgent, they may vocalize their need by whining or barking.
    • Pacing or Following You: Hungry Shihpoos may follow you around, or pace near their food bowl, trying to signal that it’s mealtime.
    • Nudging the Food Bowl: Your Shihpoo might use its nose or paw to push its food bowl, making it clear it wants to be fed.
    • Salivating: An exaggerated display of drool or licking their lips can also be a sign of hunger.
  • Energy: Ready for action! When your Shihpoo is bursting with energy and ready for some playtime or exercise, they’ll often display unmistakable signs of enthusiasm:
    • Zoomies: This is when your Shihpoo suddenly darts around the room or yard, often in playful circles or figure eights. This may also be a sign that they have too much energy before bedtime. A daily walk may be helpful.
    • Bouncing and Barking: They might jump or bounce around, excitedly barking to get your attention.
    • Fetching Toys: They may bring you a toy or drop it at your feet, clearly indicating they want to engage in a game of fetch.
    • Excited Tail Wagging: Their tail will be wagging at full throttle, conveying their eagerness for action.

Understanding these cues for fatigue, hunger, and energy levels will help you meet your Shihpoo’s needs and keep them happy and healthy. It’s all part of the delightful world of Shihpoo communication!

Emotions, Feelings, Desires

Now, let’s explore how your Shihpoo communicates their emotions, feelings, and desires through various doggy gestures:

  • The Bow, with Front Paws Down and Rump Up: A playful invitation to engage. Also, “Please! Please! Please!”
  • The Head to Tail Shake When NOT Wet: A technique to release anxiety and tension. It’s also an expression to tell you that they are stressed about the current situation.
  • Frozen in Tracks Unable to Take Eyes off What You’re Holding: A clear message you have their current crush (or favorite toy) in your hands
  • The Yawn when Being Held: A somewhat polite way to express their discomfort. It may also be a calming signal used when they are uncomfortable or trying to de-escalate a situation.
  • The Yawn when NOT Being Held: A subtle sign of comfort and relaxation.
  • The Stare Down: You have something the Shihpoo wants.
  • Eye Contact: Connection and trust.
  • No Eye Contact: Reserved, aloof, and a desire to be left alone.
  • The Lick: A loving gesture to show affection.
  • The Tail: The wagging tale of intense canine emotions, from excitement and pleasure to wanting and hoping.

Behavioral Cues from Your Shihpoo

Now, let’s put our newfound knowledge to work by diving into other essential non-verbal cues from your Shihpoo as they attempt to manage their social interactions:

  • First Through the Door: Understanding that Shihpoos, like most dogs, have a tendency to seek or create a social hierarchy in your home. That’s why it matters who goes through the door first. If you allow your Shihpoo to go through the door ahead of you, your furball may interpret that as a sign you are giving them more freedom than you actually are. Whether going outside or into another room, you should be the first one through the doorway rather than your Shihpoo.
  • Resource Guarding: Though uncommon, your Shihpoo may become possessive or protective of valuable resources like food, toys, or resting spots. This behavior is a way of safeguarding something they consider valuable and is not necessarily an attempt to assert dominance.
  • Mounting: Mounting, which is often associated with mating behavior, can also be displayed in non-sexual contexts. It may be related to excitement, playfulness, or stress rather than dominance. Our younger Shihpoo regularly mounts our older one, even though they are both males. He does this only when we are playing fetch and the older one, who is faster and more athletic, retrieves the ball before the younger one. Mountain is the younger Shihpoo’s attempt to remain engaged and active in the play.
  • Pushing or Nudging: Some Shihpoos may nudge or push others to get their attention or seek interaction. This isn’t necessarily about asserting dominance but can be a way of initiating play or requesting attention.
  • Body Blocking: Dogs may use their bodies to block or control access to certain areas or resources. This is more about resource management or seeking personal space than asserting dominance.
  • Interrupting Play: Dogs may sometimes interrupt the play of other dogs. This behavior is often about excitement, joining in the play, or seeking social interaction. We just saw this behavior this evening when we took our Shihpoos to the local dog park. Our 7-year-old is very athletic and could keep up with all but the collies. But we noticed that when a bigger dog took off running, our boy quickly caught up and seemingly nipped at the other dog’s haunches. He wasn’t angry and trying to cause a fight but just excited. Still, we needed to help him temper his enthusiasm before the other dogs grew tired of his nipping.

Importance of Proper Socializing

Shihpoos thrive on social interactions. Proper socialization with puppy litter mates through at least their first 8 weeks, frequent trips to dog parks, and even harmonious relations with other dogs in your home can greatly enhance their well-being. So, ensure your Shihpoo gets plenty of opportunities to practice their dog language not just with you and their other humans but also with other Shihpoos, doodles, and breeds in your home, neighborhood, and town.

Final Word

In the grand symphony of your Shihpoo’s dog vocal and body language, you’ve now become a maestro, tuning in to their every note. By understanding their non-verbal cues and expressions, you can deepen your connection and create a closer bond with your fluffy friend. So, let your Shihpoo’s playful expressions and gestures be your guide, and embrace the wonderful world of Shihpoo communication. Happy tail-wagging adventures with your adorable companion!

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