Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Are You Talking to Me?!?

I don't know why peoples think that dogs don't talk. We talk all the time. We talk with our ears and our eyes and our tails, not just with our mouths. But unless you know what to listen for, we could have a big communication problem.

Take for example my tail. Just because it is wagging does not mean I am happy. It could mean I am afraid and there is a big difference between happy and afraid. Dogs don't have so hard a time understanding what another dog means when she wags her tail but peoples can get confused.

My sister DixieLee is very clear in letting you know if she is happy or afraid.  When she is afraid, she wags her tail.  When she is happy, she wags her tail so hard and fast, her whole butt wags.  Me, I'm a little more subtle.  If I am wagging my tail because I am afraid, you shouldn't just walk over and try to pet me. It could be a bad move for both of us.

We dogs talk with our voices. We bark, whimper, whine, growl and howl. We don't have as many words as humans, but we don't seem to need as many to get our point across. 

I use my very soft voice when I want Dad to wake up and feed us breakfast or when I need to go out and pee. I use my very big voice when I am warning my pack that someone is coming into our yard. Dogs often combine voices with movements like when I use my little voice and do a little dance when we are getting ready to go for a walk. Going for walks are such fun, I want Mom to know I appreciate them.

I use my eyes a lot to talk. Every dog should master the art of using puppy eyes. Puppy eyes are good for getting you out of trouble. The stare is another good way to communicate. Using the stare is good when you want something. I stare very hard until Mom gets the message that it's time for a cookie. If I ask for cookies too much in one night, Mom tells me a stern no and I turn my head away so she knows I'm sorry. Okay, some times I do push it, but you won't get anywhere if don't try.

Like with a tail wag, humans need to be careful when interpreting a hard stare. Sometimes it means we just want you to pay attention to us but sometimes it's a warning to back off.

Another way we dogs get attention is to just walk over and put our heads under your hand or nudge you with our noses.  We can be pretty clear and insistent when we want to be petted.  But we don't like hugs, so back off on the hugs.

One of the most effective communication methods a dog can use is the head tilt. The head tilt is guaranteed to melt the heart of almost any human.

It takes time and patience for different creatures to communicate but it's well worth the effort.

Happy tail wags,

Your friend,

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1 comment:

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