Let’s talk a bit on body language.
According to Wikipedia (not the best source, but it’ll do for a straight-forward definition), body language “is a kind of nonverbal communication, where thoughts, intentions, or feelings are expressed by physical behaviors, such as facial expressions, body posture, gestures, eye movement, touch and the use of space.” Basically, body language is how people and animals convey emotions without speaking.
While body language is important to know for engaging with our species, it is very crucial to know the in’s and out’s of body language and animal behavior if you’re working with animals. I was in my animal science current topics class today and I we were discussing the case of aggressive pit bulls. This made me realize that a bulk of our society is very uneducated on body language, especially with animals.
Which brings me on to my next topic. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion on controversial subjects like these, but I think everyone should be properly informed about a subject before they make said opinion. Why do I believe this? Because a great portion of dog fights and incidents where humans are harmed because of dogs is because of body language. First of all, going towards a dog and bee-lining for the face is NOT what you should be doing. Instead, calmly approach them on their side and let them come up to you and sniff you before you pet them.
And it’s the same for other species. People need to know how to read body language before they interact with animals. For instance, if a horse is pinning their ears at you and turning their butt towards you, your first instinct should be “approach with caution” or to just run away.
When it gets down to it, I strongly suggest learning animal behavior before you work with animals. This is the only way to feel somewhat comfortable about something as small as a chihuahua or as big as an elephant. Not only will you be relaxed around these animals, but they will be comfortable around you. Then there is more time for playing and less time for fighting!