Here's How Dogs Communicate With Us Using Gestures!

Here's How Dogs Communicate With Us Using Gestures!

Researchers Hannah Worsley and Sean O’Hara at the University of Salford in the United Kingdom have decoded at least 19 signals in the canine language that dogs transmit to humans.

According to the study published in the Animal Cognition journal, these referential gestures are used by dogs to communicate with their parents about their needs and wants. Dogs are even capable of hastening a response from their parents.


Thirty-seven dogs were filmed by their parents in everyday situations using mobile phones.

The research team then analyzed over 1,000 video clips and identified an initial 49 potential referential signals.

However, the referential signals were narrowed down to 19 after researchers observed that these signals were delivered in combination with other gestures.


The combination of signals can be categorized into four different groups:

  • Give me food or drink
  • Fetch my bone or toy
  • Open the door for me
  • Scratch my belly

The most common signals include the paw hover (asking for food or drink), the roll over (asking for belly scratch), and the head hiding (initiating play time).

Dogs might also crawl under, put their back leg up, or stand on their hind legs to indicate any of these four groups.


The study suggests that the repertoire of referential gestures is influenced by the length of time the dog has lived with his parent, and the number of people that live in the household.

Results infer that dogs are aware of the need to ensure that the referential gesture is clearly and easily understood by the recipient.

Feature Image Source: Pixabay

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