Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hops in the Right Direction: Communication is Key (And a Key to Communication)

I talk to my dog.  A lot.  And yeah, I get it.  She doesn't understand English, and the talking is mostly for my benefit.  But she does understand my tone, facial expressions, and body language.

But that communication goes two ways--she "talks" to me, too.  I get the play bow when she wants to play fetch or tug; I get anxious eyes and a little squeak when she needs to go out.  Dogs (and cats!) have more subtle ways of communicating, as well.  Via Tails, Inc., the only email newsletter I have ever bothered to subscribe to (and actually look forward to receiving):

Click here to embiggen.
In any successful relationship, both parties need to have an open line of communication--and a cheat sheet helps!

(True:  Earlier this week, I mentioned Black Dog Syndrome.  As it turns out, experts disagree on whether it's a real thing or a myth.  Regardless, any establishment trying to help any pet  find a home is A-okay in my book!)


  1. You're exactly right, Dana, and this is a topic I find very interesting. Really effective animal trainers get that way by becoming fluent in the language of the species they work with. For example, we learn how to communicate with dogs by studying how wolves interact in the wild. It's not only the tails, but the ears and (especially) eyes that offer very clear signals on a wolf's--or dog's--state of mind. By learning how to use our eyes, posture, and as you said, tone of voice, we can likewise "speak" to them in a way they understand.

    1. Exactly! You can only go so far by telling your dog what to do--we also need to understand what our dogs are asking for.