First off continued good wishes for Mexico and Puerto Rico and everyone that was already trying to recover from nature’s wrath.
If you own or have watched two dogs interacting with each other, then you know they don’t just go up and say “Hey Butch, how’s it hanging”. There is a meeting-new-dog protocol, meeting-a-dog-who-is-a-friend protocol, and even a meeting-a-dog-who-is-an-enemy protocol. It all depends on which direction the tail is wagging, how hard the tail is wagging, and even different types of tail wagging and that is only one aspect of dog communication.
The same thing goes with cats. Do you know about kitty-eye kisses? Try this the next time you see a cat chilling. Look at them until they look at you, then close your eyes halfway and open them again a couple of times. The cat will copy you. That is a way of saying, everything is good here and good with us.
Animals use their whole body and all of their senses to communicate with each other. Some are more easy to tell than others, but they are communicating a lot more than you give them credit for. Our Border Collie, Paxil, is super smart. He has learned to be bi-species lingual. When people come over they are amazed because I have conversations with him and he seems to understand what I am saying. He does, and not just the words I speak but also of my tone and body language. He knows me so well that, to outsiders, it almost seems magical. Ok, he is kind of magical.
To animals, we must seem really strange because most of our communication is done with noises. We are just “telling” each other stuff. Even if you are animated and gesture a lot when you talk, it is still not to the same level as our pets.
When writing, we are told to “show” not “tell,” and that is an important part of communication. A dog barking is pretty tame. A dog with hackles raised, crouching on the floor with hind legs ready to spring, dripping foamy slobber, ears laid back with a low deep growl is a completely different thing, one you should not go near. Even if you are writing about people, we all can feel the hairs on the back of our neck tingle. There are a myriad of ways to communicate besides talking, ways that, as authors, we should look into.
Except for butt sniffing. That’s gross.
Have a good day.