Using Body Language
Your dog reads and responds to your body language. Can you do likewise?
Dogs bark to express thoughts and needs, and to send messages. Research published in the journal Comparative Psychology speculates that barking may have evolved as an attempt to imitate human speech, and also shows that humans can interpret a dog's bark as lonely, angry, or playful.1
Another study published in Bark explains that upright ears signal attentiveness, slightly pulled back ears indicate friendliness, and tightly pressed back ears fearfulness or timidity.2 A Current Biology article reports that even the direction of your dog's wagging tail broadcasts his/her emotions; wagging predominantly to the right means friend, to the left foe.3
Reading each other's signals correctly enriches your relationship with your dog, creating a genuine bond between lifelong friends.
1 Pongracz P, Molnar C, Miklosi A, Dsanyl V. Human listeners are able to classify dog (Canis familiaris) barks recorded in different situations. Comp Psychol. 2005; 119 (2):136-144.
2 Superior Senses: Hearing. Bark. February/March 2010:p18.
3 Quaranta A, Siniscalchi M, Vallortiagara G. Asymmetric tail-wagging responses by dogs to different emotive stimuli. Current Biology. 2007;17(6):199-201.