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How old is your dog?

Pre-Puppy
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Pre-Puppy

What’s better than puppies? That’s right: your own puppy. So, what do you need to know before you take the plunge into pet parenthood?

0-2 months
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0-2 months

Welcome to the world little one. It’s all grow-grow-grow for your puppy right now, so there’s many things to prepare.

2-3 months
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2-3 months

Your puppy is ready to come home and turn your world upside down. It’s time to put your preparation into practice – and remember to take it all in!

3-6 months
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3-6 months

You’re entering a period of immense growth, lots of learning and new adventures. Bring on the play date with the big wide world!

6-12 months
6-12 months preview image

6-12 months

Your fur-baby is nearing adulthood. Can you see their grown self coming through? Sigh…they grow up so fast, don’t they?

12-18 months
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12-18 months

Your puppy has turned one and they might not be so little anymore. Make sure to book their first annual check-up.

18 months - 3 years
18 months - 3 years preview image

18 months - 3 years

Your dog is one an established family member now. Enjoy who they have become and the bond you now share at this special stage.

3 - 8 years
3 - 8 years preview image

3 - 8 years

Your dog is a full-grown adult now. They understand where their place is in your home and the wider world.

8+ years
8+ years preview image

8+ years

Just like many senior citizens, senior dogs have some extra needs. Learn to look after your best friend and support their health as they grow older.

Dog Emotions and How to Read Them

Dog Emotions and How to Read Them

Just like us, our canine companions experience a range of emotions. The most easily recognisable dog emotions include anger, fear and happiness. Research suggests that people recognise certain emotions such as anger and happiness in dogs from an early age, regardless of their previous experience with dogs. In general, we are better at recognising dog emotions when we’ve grown up with them as pets, and when we’ve a positive attitude towards dogs.

So how do you recognise emotions in your dog, and help alleviate negative emotions?

Anger

Anger is easily recognised because it manifests as aggression. Dogs that are feeling angry may bark aggressively, growl, bare their teeth and even bite if left with no other option. Other signs to look for includ dilated pupils, ears held back against the head, having the tail held erect, and ‘piloerection’ (the hair along the back standing on end). Angry dogs can be dangerous and the most effective way to avoid escalation and alleviate tension is to slowly back away from the dog.

Fear

Dogs express fear when they’re scared, when they are sensitised to a threat (whether it be truly present, or just perceived), usually in response to something unfamiliar or a situation that’s caused them this negative emotion previously. For example, a dog may become fearful of motorcycles if they were raised in an environment where there weren’t any, especially during their socialisation period.

Fear can be recognised through body language including wide eyes, dilated pupils, ears held back, a tail tucked under the body, cowering, avoidance and hiding behaviours.

Fear can turn into aggressive, protective behaviour, if not alleviated.

It can be avoided by reducing exposure to situations that trigger a fear response. However, this is not always possible, and teaching your dog to associate what might be ‘scary’ things (like motorcycles, or the vet) with positive outcomes, their fear can be somewhat overcome. This can be achieved using a combination of two techniques, known as desensitisation and counter-conditioning .

Happiness

One of the most easily recognised emotions in dogs is happiness. Typical signs of happiness include a wagging tails, relaxed body and face, tongue lolling, squinty eyes and normal, relaxed breathing. The play bow is another way a dog expresses happiness when interacting with people or other dogs. You can boost this state by engaging in activities such as going for a walk or run, playing with your dog, or chilling on the couch together.

Can dogs sense human emotions?

The latest research suggests that not only can dogs recognise their owner’s emotions, they can recognise certain emotions in unfamiliar people, too. It is thought that this skill is important for successful relationships in mixed-species social groups, and may explain why we love dogs so much – they just get us!

It’s also likely they can smell and hear when they’re owner is experiencing certain emotions like stress or anxiety.

This is because these emotions trigger changes in our body such as sweating and an elevated heart rate which dogs may smell or hear.


References
Albuquerque, N., Guo, K., Wilkinson, A., Savalli, C., Otta, E., & Mills, D. (2016). Dogs recognize dog and human emotions. Biology letters, 12(1), 20150883.
Amici, F., Waterman, J., Kellermann, C. M., Karimullah, K., & Bräuer, J. (2019). The ability to recognize dog emotions depends on the cultural milieu in which we grow up. Scientific reports, 9(1), 1-9.

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