Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Stop talking and listen to what your dog isn't saying

Many people I know talk a lot to their dog. Most of these have full conversations with their dog without even realizing it. They ask questions and opinions of the dog. They tell them what they are going to do, they discuss crossword puzzles, what tv show to watch.

I have found that when they are so busy talking to their dog, they miss many opportunities to communicate. Sometimes we just have to stop talking and listen. Watch. Learn. Your dog will teach you so much if you would just listen to them.

Maybe people don't really want to know what their dog is thinking. Maybe they do. If you do, here's a challenge for you ... I bet you find it more difficult than you think. Let me know your results.

Can you stop talking to your dog for a week?


Marg said...

I listen to my dogs all the time. Or at least I watch their actions and their faces to see what they want. I have two very good dogs and when they ask me for something I know they need it right now.

Angus said...

A lovely post but the chances of not talking to them for a week is exactly zero!

Unknown said...

I don't know if I can not talk at all to them for a week but I have been increasing my silence, especially when I first come home. After I let everyone out of their crates, they all want "mom" time; it is actually hard to move. I give them time to settle, then try to get to each one to pet as I watch the pack and individual dynamics. I AM noticing a calmer response through the pack w/o my speaking much at all. It has been very interesting. Thanks for the entry. I will ramp it up and see what happens.

Cyndi and Stumpy said...

I could, but I don't want to. I am pretty in tune with my girl. I don't ask her opinion. Since she is reactive and fearful, it's important that I pay attention to what she is "saying".

My GSD was deaf for a few months before he died. I always wondered if he missed me talking to him. what did he make of not getting his good boys or me calling him. He'd look at me sometimes and I swore his heart was breaking. I thought if I could only tell him he's still the best boy ever, it would help.

Whipple said...

I think Im one of the rare people who doesnt do a ton of talking to my own pets. I never have. I figure they dont know english, so the only time I really talk to them is giving commands or reprimanding them.
Dogs communicate most everything they need to say through body language. Its always worked well for me.

Storm, The Psychotic Housewife said...

I listen to them, but there's no way I could stop talking to them. :) I admit it, I'm one of those who tells my dogs everything, let's go make dinner, it's naptime, etc.

Ish said...

I love to read your blog its very interesting, keep it up! and more power!
Health Assistant

Jen said...

I don't know about dogs, but I know our horses are in constant communication with each other and me. Pretty sure one of these days someone is going to recommend I get some therapy, as I have full blown conversations with them on a regular basis *grin*. I think back to how much I was missing "before", and I am so very thankful that I was able to develop a clue there (it makes for an amazing relationship :o)

Flo said...

I learned early on to 'listen' to my dogs through their body language but it became a real priority once I owned a pit bull. I learned rapidly that in order to protect her from people who don't have a clue, I needed to be able to read her like a book so I knew what she was thinking regardless of what was going on around her. By knowing her so well I prevented a couple of mishaps by well-meaning strangers.

This has proved to be a valuable skill with my new dog. He's a rescue dog with fear based aggression issues. Being able to 'hear' what he is saying allows me to distinguish when he is actually afraid of something or when he is responding with old habits. This is allowing me to replace his old habits with new ones and reduce is overall anxiety which lessens the incidences of fear-aggression.

To make a short answer long, yes, I listen to my dogs all the time.