You might want to start, by compiling a list of dog "words".
Many of these signals we
can also use to "talk" to our dogs. I use some of these all the time with my dog, he "hears me" when i do talk "dog". (like the slow blink, the yawn, the deep sigh)
Of course, context matters
. A yawn at bedtime, might simply be a yawn, a yawn in a car may mean the dog is a lil queasy,
but a yawn to you when you are jumping around in excitement might mean "calm down".
My dog also yawns to himself to self-calm himself, like when i am putting on my coat to take him for his walks, he often yawns to calm his own self down, it's adorable.
Peace-keeping signals are vital to a successful pack, and peace itself, is a much desired thing in a dog pack. Many of dog words that we know about, are peace-keeping signals.
Lip licks, "i'm nervous"
Head turn away "i mean no harm, i respect you"
Deep slow sigh, "i am relaxed"
Rapid breathing, "i'm anxious"
FAke sniff---"i am no threat, calm down" (this is when a dog turns his side to another dog, and pretends to sniff the ground. It is a FAKE sniff, a pose, not a real sniff, the fake sniffer does not inhale deeply, does not move around to follow the scent, he is just posing like a dog statue)
slight, brief Paw lift--a calming signal.
prolonged paw lift while standing "look at that, wow"
The split---"knock it off/calm down". ONe dog walks between two other dogs who are beginning to stare at each other, and this interupts the escalation, and peace returns. Hard to spot this one.
slow blink, "calming signal"
play bow----let's play, or sometimes, "i was just kidding" if it follows a play aggression move.
soft eyes, soft mouth, "i'm friendly"
Shake off---dogs shakes around as if he was wet, "wow, that was a bit much, glad that minorly annoying event is over". (can also be the dog just re-arranging his fur, etc)
and what human can not easily recognize the dog who is "pleading" with his facial expression, flattened puppy-style ears, and intense eye gaze with lifted brows?????? and sometimes, a soft whine, as well.
In play, dogs sometimes play actual games, similar to human kids playing cops and robbers,
chin over the back of another dog---i'm the boss
belly up dog---you are the boss
Standing over the belly up dog, or humping, "i am the boss"
Humping can also be used to try to provoke a dog to chase the hump-er.
Dogs can even take turns back and forth, in such play.
Tail up---"i'm all that, i'm the top dog around here" (whether or not this is true
Tail way down, "i'm submissive, or afraid or unsure"
Ears also send signals, of all types, back and forth from dog to dog.
dogs even have many types of barks, and most of us who live with a dog, can easily distinguish our dogs "someone's at the door" bark,
from his "wow, there's my toy bear" bark, etc.
The howl is not well understood, but, some think it can mean what the wolves mean,
"this is my area" or "come home, pack members" or "i am over here." We don't know that one for sure, and it may have more than one meaning. My dog's howl, when my guy is out of town travelling,
is way more sorrowful sounding, by far,
than it is when both of us are home.
The tail wag, can mean more than just "glad to see you" or "i'm so excited you said go bye bye"
Tails can wag even during aggressive displays,
and i once read some study on which direction the tail goes most often, when the dog is wagging his tail while aggressive, but, i've forgotten which direction it was.
there are multiple signs of aggression as well, some most obvious, like raised hackles, growls,
postures, ear positions, stiff legs, crouching, raised lips, snarls, hard-eyed staring,
to some as subtle as
the position of their whiskers, nostrils, and eyelids.
There are tons of other dog 'words', and probably many that we humans have not decoded yet.
Dogs indeed, do have their own language, and many of us never ever see it...............
PS------sorry for all that anthropomorphising there in the list of dog words