Non-Verbal Communication

The poodles have a lot of different sounding barks, whines and other verbal noises, but they also have a lot of ways to communicate with me non-verbally. Cross-species communication is fascinating, but it takes work. I can't just listen, to know what they want to say, I also have to look.

Here are a few ways that the poodles communicate with me, non-verbally. I'm sure there are more, and perhaps even some that I don't consciously recognize.

  • A tap on my arm or leg with his paw means, "Hello, I am here and I want some attention!"
  • Long, deep stare into my eyes means, "I love you, you are my world." His stares are so 'deep' I sometimes feel like he knows me better than I do!
  • Mouth silently opening and closing (like a cow chewing cud) means "I am hungry and what you are eating looks good!"
  • Small, happy jumps means "What you just suggested sounds great, let's do it!" (Normal response for the suggestion of a walk or car ride.)
  • Fast and 'fluttering' tail wags means "Oh look, it's you and I'm so happy to see you!"
  • Licking. D'Art licks to show he loves me, especially when he is cuddly and relaxed.
  • Kisses (licks on the face). D'Art will kiss when he is really excited to see me. Usually after I've been away for a few days.
Remembering warm weather!
  • Nudges his head under my arm means "Hello, I am here and I want some attention!"
  • Nudges his nose against the back of my legs as I walk down the hall (as if to propel me faster) "Let's go get dinner, I really want dinner!"
  • Swift nudges with his nose, anywhere he can reach "Let's play!"
  • Brief, needy looks into my eyes means, "I love you and am just checking you are still here and know that I am here too."
  • Offering his paw to me so we can 'hold paws'. He does this to connect in a quiet and loving way.
  • Large, happy jumps means "What you just suggested sounds great, let's do it!"
  • Slower, pendulum-like tail wags means "I'm glad you're here with me; I'm happy."
  • A silent and serious sit, directly in front of me. "Can I...." (e.g. Can I get up on the couch and snuggle with you? Can I have a bit of what you are eating?...etc.) 
  • Licking. Teddy licks to show he cares about me and is concerned. He tends to do it in a 'nurse-like' way when I am sick, melancholy or anxious.
  • Nose kisses. If Teddy presses his nose against my lips or cheeks, this is his form of a kiss. He rarely licks to kiss, and just like D'Art he 'kisses' when he is really excited to see me.
Dreaming of the floral seasons!
What about your dog?  How does he/she communicate to you non-verbally?


  1. I love it when my dogs do this with me. Rodrigo, Zoey, and Sydney are big on the paw holding. All of our dogs are big kissers. And our dogs jump excitedly when they like a suggestion - Zoey starts barking like crazy when she loves it.

  2. A chin resting on my leg, which grows heavier by the second, means Ryder would like me to share my food with him. (By the end he is actively pushing down with his chin, to remind me he is there!

    1. Mine too! He'll just about lift himself up, if I don't pay attention to him soon enough!

  3. My poodle-lab cross bows his head and presses it in between my legs when he wants affection or when he's had enough in overly-stimulating environments (lots of kids or loud noises).

    1. Teddy does something similar. It's comforting for him. It's nice when we know what our dogs are trying to tell us!


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