How important is it That You Learn to Communicate with Your Dog?

I recently spoke to a man about his dog. He was remarking that his one year old dog has so many behavioral problems because it is still a “puppy”.

I have heard this excuse often. I have met dogs that the owners complained about that were four year old “puppies”. For some reason many people believe that if your dog is a puppy then they don’t have to be well behaved.

Whether your dog is four months or four years, it’s important to learn how to communicate with them. I’m not sure how frustrating it must be to a dog with an owner that won’t attempt this, but I would hate to hear what a dog would really say if they were ever given a voice.

confused dog

Learning how to communicate with your dog:

The eyes of a dog

If you have ever watched dogs they are almost constantly communicating with each other. We as humans only understand a very small part. It’s fascinating to watch the non-verbal eye contact and what response they get.

I recently had a litter of puppies. The mother was inside the box and my older Doberman came to the side of the box to look at the puppies. There was no problem with this. Soon another dog, not a part of our pack, joined the Doberman so see what was inside the box. The mother dog didn’t growl, posture, get up or show any sort of aggression. She just looked at the dog. Not a sideways glance (a term called “whale eye”), no shifting of the head what so ever. She just looked. Immediately the second dog backed away and the mother quickly shifted her attention back to the litter.

Watch the full episode. See more Through a Dogs Eyes.

Body Language

Body language is one of the most common forms of dog to dog communication. With training we can begin to learn what our dogs are telling us through body language. Just as important we can also begin to learn how our body language tells a dog what we are communicating.

Click here to see different forms of Body Language

two dogs posturing


People have a tenancy to talk to their dogs too much during training. I tell people if you want your dog to hear you Stop Talking!

This Far Side cartoon says it all:

far side cartoon

Proper tone and timing, making your point and moving on is something a dog understands. Going on and on about how disappointed we are, how they better “shape up” are NOT things that dogs understand.

We all talk about being the pack leader, but unless you can communicate with your dog you will never be able to achieve this position.

Think about two people living in the same house and neither understanding each others language. Once you can communicate with your dog your world opens up to endless opportunities for training or just peacefully co-existing within your pack.

Family with a pair of Rottweilers


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