3 Things Dogs Wish We Knew
Have you ever wondered what your dog is thinking? Are there times when their behaviour or choices seem like a curveball or left-field? We have all been there at some point in our journey with our dogs – here are my top 3 Things Dogs Wish We Knew to help you navigate the world better with your furry friend.
3. How to read body language
One thing we have in common with dogs; our body language is the primary mouthpiece from which all of our communication stems. Humans have evolved with language, so approximately 30% of what we are feeling or thinking comes from our mouths. Dogs communicate approximately 90% of their feelings through their bodies. Because of this, they’re highly attuned to reading people and each other. These expressions are called micro-signals and they can be very subtle and easily missed – the quick flash of teeth or a sharp head turn can tell another dog “I need space” without any growling or boisterous movement.
The trouble is, verbal advancements humans have made over the past tens of thousands of years in has made us lazy – we forget about reading body language in each other, and in turn our dogs.
Dogs love people who can interpret and appropriately respond to their body language (it also makes training dogs 100x faster if you can see what they are really thinking). Remember how good it feels to meet another Brit abroad? I imagine that’s how dogs feel when humans really understand them.
2. How to say hello
I am willing to bet that as children we were all told at one point or another to stick out our hand to a dog’s nose to allow them to sniff us. The sentiment was there but sadly the method was lacking in tact. Dogs see the world primarily through their nose, but with over 100 million scent receptors in their nose, dogs really do not need a hand shoved in their face in order to get to know us.
Dogs prefer no eye contact on a first meeting, which is very much the opposite of the human “hello”. Bending down, extending a hand and making eye contact (staring and smiling) with an unknown dog can all be interpreted as a threatening gesture and cause a bie.
Studies show that dog bites have risen by 5% between 2015 and 2018 in the UK and poor meeting rituals are a common reason behind dog bites with up to 30% occuring on the hands.
Here’a an excellent child-friendly video that I love by Dog Matters:
The value of play
Play is one of the fastest ways to engage your dog and build a fantastic training relationship with them. As a dog trainer, lots of people ask me how they can keep their dogs attention on walks. The key to success is play. Play builds a strong bond with your dog and encourages focus and interaction. Games of fetch, tug or chase are all natural games dogs love to play with each other – bringing more play into your relationship is essentially bio-hacking their natural drivers! 10 -20 minutes of play every single day can improve your relationship enormously – you may well see an increase in their attention for you as a result. Some dogs do not play, but can learn with time. Give it a try.
When was the last time you played with your dog?
Try these on for size!
About the Author
Jarvis is the leading authority on luxury dog boarding and training experiences in the UK, providing HNW clients with private, professional time-saving dog training solutions.
Jarvis is also a senior tutor for Pet Business Courses – an online educational platform supplying educational resources to budding pet entrepreneurs. New blog posts are published on 1st of every month at midday.