Dogs Use Body Language to Communicate… Even With Babies

This Dog “Babyproofed” Itself

This husky is communicating with its owner. What do you think it is saying?

How dogs use body language to communicate

Dogs cannot say, in English, “Please make the baby stop that.” They rely on body language to communicate, like this dog is doing with it’s owner and the baby.

With large dogs, especially, it is possible for a dog’s normal body language — like swinging the head or giving paw — to accidentally injure a much smaller human child. It’s also possible for an exuberant child to accidentally injure the dog! It is the grown-up’s responsibility to listen to both sides — both child and dog — and end interactions once one side or the other has had enough.

Note that this lovely, patient dog has chosen to remove her legs from the play area rather than to growl or snap at the child — good dog! It’s time to reinforce this behavior by giving the baby something else to play with, and giving the dog some “me” time.

Always be sure that family pets can escape the family child. You can provide high or enclosed spaces for the pet to retreat, or separate the two with a baby gate once playtime is over.

Do your children and pets “play nice” together? Share your stories in the comments!