At my dog school, we have a motto: dogs are members of the family, not just part of the pack.
Every dog — regardless of breed or disposition — wants to understand, communicate and be a part of your action. But like pre-verbal children, dogs lack the words to express their desires. Confused by or unaware of what you want from them, dogs will use their own language of postures and body cues to get their point across. You’re speaking English, they’re speaking Doglish; you’re listening, they’re watching. Confusion often sets in on both ends of the leash.
In my last column, 7 Reasons It's Ok to Love Your Dog Like A Baby, we made the happy discovery that there is a growing majority of dog lovers who think of their dog as family and themselves as loving parents rather than hard-core trainers. Links from my last blog show how dogs depend on loving attachments, follow social cues like pointing and staring, and experience empathy for those they love - just like human babies.
So here’s your furry, four-legged baby, trying to navigate the world of humans, when he hits the communication barrier. Trying to interpret with posture, he communicates the only way he knows how — by leaning forward or holding back, by adjusting his tail to flag his concern or excitement. If you’re not watching for clues, you’ll miss his message.
Read the full article here.