Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Canine Communication

  • Irena Petak
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1695-1



Dogs may communicate with conspecifics, humans, and other domestic animals they live with. When they communicate, they use visual, auditory, olfactory, and tactile signals. Domestication has greatly changed dogs’ physical appearance, and therefore, visual communication may not be equally important for dogs as for their wild relatives. Whereas some messages may be important for recognition and signaling in close proximity, others are broadcasted for long-distance communication.


Between the carnivores, dogs and their ancestor, wolves, can be considered as the most social. Therefore, they develop an effective communication system with an abundant number of signals to maintain cohesion of the group, no matter if that is wolf pack, human family, or a group of feral dogs (e.g., Bradshaw and Nott 1995; Feddersen-Petersen 2007). For communication and recognition in close proximity, they can use body language, body odor, touch, and certain...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ZagrebCroatia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Stephanie Jett
    • 1
  1. 1.Georgia College & State UniversityMobileUSA