A dog’s sense of hearing and smell is much more acute then ours. For most people our primary form of communication is voice, but dogs rely on body language to consciously communicate much more than humans do.And while all dogs are sensitive beings – some dogs are even more so – these dogs have heightened sensitivity. Heightened sensitivity (HS) can be an amazing asset if you know how to understand and enable the best in a dog that is an HS dog – you can read about that here.
Dogs are very sensitive and use their senses (sight, scent sound) more keenly and consciously than people do. Dogs look at a human’s face to understand, ask and engage the human.
When we think of something that makes us happy, unhappy, sad, angry, excited, etc. the thought translates to our body. We may tense our shoulders, clench our hand, narrow our eye, purse our mouth, change our breathing, sweating and so on. This is our physical reaction to our own thoughts…as translated to our bodies = body language.
Body language is a form of communication and your dog takes notice – instantaneously…our dogs are often aware of what we feel before we are.
This is just one reason why it is so important to learn to be aware of your own emotional state when you are communicating to and working with your dog.
You cannot hope to lead your dog in an affective manner if are not aware of what you are projecting.
You will indeed lead – but not as you hoped to! The instant you get emotional, you either lose your dog audience – meaning they will no longer pay attention to the direction you are attempting to provide or you will influence them to become reactive just as you are! If your dog is barking and you are yelling at it to stop – well guess what…you are a hypocrite. Why? Because you are barking too! Behaviour wise – never ask someone (including a dog) to do what your not prepared to do your self!
Dogs are also very sensitive and aware of physical presence and how dogs and people occupy space.
This is how a dog herds other animals and sometimes people too! It is also how a dog clams space. If your dog jumps on visitors and the visitor pulls back – this is an invitation to the dog to move further into the visitors space. If you yield space to the dog it will move into the space you yield. Conversely, if you do not withdraw but instead move into the dog’s space the dog will back away. If you hold a treat in your hand and put your hand up high – the dog will see this as an invitation to move into your space and jump for the treat. If you hold you hand at your side with calm confidence and ‘own’ the treat the dog will not move-in to take the treat unless you offer it to the dog. If you calmly and confidently ‘occupy’ a doorway, a dog will not bolt through in front of you.
So, if you want to better understand and work with your dog…train yourself to be aware of and in control of your emotional state, be aware of your body language and how you occupy space and learn to see when your dog looks at you asking for direction.
If you require additional support and guidance I would be pleased to assist you via my In-Person or On-Line Services…
Dog Obedience Training and Behavior Modification Services:
Diet, Nutrition Wellness Services:
- Unbiased Diet, Nutrition, Product Advice is available via this service
- Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness Plans are available via this service