YOUR DOG IS TRYING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING ARE YOU LISTENING?
BY DAN SAYERS
“Do you want to go for a walk?” How many times have you asked your dog that question? How many times has your dog answered you? Well, you might be surprised to learn that your dog’s excited response to hearing your tone of voice could represent more than mere anticipation. That enthusiastically wagging tail might just be a signal that your dog wants to tell you what’s on his or her mind—and in the heart. With every interac- tion the two of you share, your dog’s overt displays conceal the need to connect with you in a language that remains somewhat obscure to most. It’s likely that your dog even has opinions that are being expressed in a voice you’re not quite ready to hear. Maybe, just maybe, your dog wants you to listen. THE LANGUAGE OF INTUITION Some people still seem to think that in order to effectively inter- act with a dog, a command must be given. After all, telling a dog to “sit” or “stay” is a reliable way to demonstrate a dog’s ability to understand—and obey. This “call and response” form of communica- tion is well-known for getting things done, but it’s clearly one-sided. Although giving direction can be effective in the context of a field trial or policework (and a clearly uttered Back! or Gib Laut! can cer- tainly deliver results), it does little to develop a more innate connec- tion between dog and handler. By contrast, the use of complete sen- tences—spoken and unspoken—encourages a deeper dialog that can yield results far greater than a high score for the perfect performance. Conversations that encourage quiet listening are rife with possibil- ity for transforming mundane exercises into meaningful exchanges. They can even turn common commands into miraculous messages. When communication is instinctive, the human/canine bond can be transformed in unimaginable ways through the language of intuition.
“WITH EVERY INTERACTION THE TWO OF YOU SHARE, YOUR DOG’S OVERT DISPLAYS CONCEAL THE NEED TO CONNECT WITH YOU IN A LANGUAGE THAT REMAINS SOMEWHAT OBSCURE TO MOST.”
146 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, MARCH 2022
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