Just because dogs can’t talk, it doesn’t mean they’re not communicating with you. Dogs actually have terrific ways of communicating with humans, which often go unnoticed because their owner doesn’t understand what they’re trying to say.
Don’t get lost in translation Before getting started, it’s a good idea not to make any assumptions when it comes to your dog’s barking, yapping, tail wagging and the like. There are unfortunately many generic “meanings” associated with dog movements – for example, a tail between the legs means I’m scared – many of which aren’t necessarily true, or are true but in addition to other meanings associated with the same movement. Before assuming that your dog is anxious because their tale is swaying furiously, take a moment to observe them more thoroughly to figure out what they’re telling you.
Barking is not babbling Unfortunately, for dogs, the minute they start barking a firm warning follows because their owner assumes they’re barking unnecessarily. With an extensive vocal capacity, dogs have the ability to make hundreds of different sounds, making their barking tendencies more relevant than you think. The next time your dog is barking or whining, listen closely to the pitch of their tone to figure out what they’re trying to tell you – if it’s a short, medium-pitch bark they might simply be trying to say hello.
Keeping things simple Dogs can understand the human language, to an extent. While there’s no harm in carrying on long conversations with your furry friend for comfort, when it comes to giving commands, less is more. A dog will immediately understand short instructions such as “sit” and “stay” but may get confused when you say “get your muddy feet off of the couch”.
Keep commands between you and your pooch simple and succinct to get the best results. Enunciating certain letters – such as the t in “sit” – is even better as your clever dog will remember this letter and the move they made at the sound of it in the future.