Friday, May 2, 2008

Doggie Speak

It's been a while since I actually had a non-Theo specific post and today I think I found a good topic for one. I was perusing Kaley Corgi's blog and I saw this link on how to talk to your dog. I thought it was neat, so I'll share to 10 steps to better communication:

1. Keep commands short and simple. Dogs understand human speech by taking cues from distinct sounds. Short words ending in a clearly enunciated consonant are best.

2. Don’t repeat yourself. Voice commands should be said just once for maximum effect. Most dogs have better hearing than humans and will remember a word for up to two minutes. If they don’t respond, it’s not that they don’t hear you—it’s that they aren’t listening!

3. Expand your dog’s vocabulary. Dogs can understand hundreds of words, but each should be linked to a specific object or action. Dogs cannot understand complete sen-tences. However, they will pick up on your tone of voice (happy, sad, concerned) and respond accordingly.

4. Use your body. Recent studies show that dogs understand our gestures and body language. If you point at an object, your dog will not think you are imitating the Statue of Liberty—he will look toward where you are pointing.

5. Listen closely. Dogs’ barks mean something. Many dog owners say they can tell by the tone of their dog’s bark whether a friend or a stranger is approaching the house.

6. Check the tail. A new study shows that a dog wagging his tail with a bias to the right is excited and happy to see you. A dog wagging his tail predominantly to the left is excited but unsure or fearful. Since it can be hard to tell the difference, interpret all tail-wagging in context: If a dog is wagging his tail but also growling, it’s best to back off.

7. Look into his eyes. Rapid blinking is a sign of nervousness or deep thought. A dog that blinks rapidly after being given a command is deciding whether or not to obey.

8. Get your licks. Pups lick their mothers’ lips to get them to regurgitate food. When dogs lick people, it’s a sign of submission or deference.

9. Let him lean. If your dog leans against your leg, he is asking you for protection in a threatening situation. This is good—you should be in charge—but understand that your dog is counting on you to make him feel safe again.

10. Read the “writing” on the wall. Call it pee-mail or canine graffiti—urine marking is an important method of communication for dogs. It may indicate territoriality, possessiveness or hostility. If you notice where he marks, you may be able to understand and address his concerns. And if a dog nudges you in the crotch or other pheromone-rich regions, he’s just trying to get to know you from your scent.

Theo totally does that blinking thing and unfortunately, more than half the time the decision is not to obey! Hehe. Unless it gets him a treat or what he wants.


The Senakams said...

Good stuff :) Too bad #6 will never be something we can use on our boys... hee hee!

JuLo said...

Hehe. Nope! But you can at least observe the nub. Theo's butt is still very expressive! That nub is in the air and wiggling like crazy when he's happy.