Saturday, March 26, 2011

Speaking Dog: The Basics Pt. 2

Dogs are smarter than we think! They are able to detect microexpressions in our faces and the smallest changes in our body language to discern what it is we are trying to communicate to them. Sometimes what we mean by our words can completely contradict what dogs perceive our bodies are saying. For instance, bending forward to face Leo and telling him to "Come!" goes against what he as a dog thinks "come" means. Instead, to Leo and the rest of the canine world, the direction my feet point indicate where I want Leo to go. You never see a dog signal "come follow me" by bending low and facing you. If anything, that's a signal to play. Instead, his body moves in the direction he wants to go and he turns his head to indicate he wants me to follow. So to tell Leo to come (at least before he learned the come command), I turned my body in the direction I wanted him to follow, clapped my hands, and called his name. Once your dog understands what it was you want him to do, it's up to him to decide if he wants to listen or not. If you've earned his respect, he will follow your instructions (so long as he isn't rebelling)!

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