Reading dog and cat body language is an essential skill for pet owners.
We know that reading pet body language is not something that’s done well. Fear is often read as ‘guilt’. A yawn can be misinterpreted as boredom or tiredness, and a tail wag can be easily misunderstood as ‘he’s happy!’.
This can have severe consequences. A study in Liverpool found that dog bites in children were tripled during the first lockdown, with families spending more time at home with their pets.
The study lead, Dr Carri Westgarth, said “Any dog can bite, the signs that they are feeling overwhelmed, like folding their ears back, turning their head away or walking away from a situation, go unnoticed, especially by children.”
Do your clients understand ‘Body Language’?
Even in the veterinary clinic, owners regularly misread their dog’s signals. As vets, we’ve become proficient in recognising the signs of an uncomfortable dog and we’ll automatically respond by trying to find ways to help them relax.
How often have owners interpreted this as us being ‘scared of’ their dogs, or said ‘oh he’s fine he won’t bite!’, despite the dog showing clear warning signs that they’re uncomfortable?
Cat bites are often perceived to be less dangerous than dog bites. It’s clear that body language misinterpretation is as much a problem in cats as dogs.
So, here at the Vet Channel we decided to see if we can help. We’ve decided to produce two new videos for reading body language, one for dogs and one for cats. Both videos contain descriptions of signals and their ‘translation’, as well as accurate animations to help demonstrate the behaviour.
It’s our hope that these new body language videos will engage and educate your clients whilst they’re in the waiting room.
Increasing pet parents ability to ‘translate’ what dogs are saying should reduce dog bites, cat bites, and dog-dog fights, as well as increase their appreciation for your team and how they interact with their dogs.
Add these videos to your playlist
So, make sure to add the two new videos to your Vet Channel playlist and make the most of this opportunity to start conversations about dog behaviour.
The Vet Channel is a waiting room TV service with added benefits. The system enables you to reach out to your clients through social media. A large number of videos – created by veterinary surgeons and specialists are available to download. These can be used in your social media channels and website to help educate clients, in turn enhancing loyalty and their connection to your practice.