The bond between a dog and a human is nothing short of a miracle. Here are two different species of animal that can express feelings and love each other without wording anything. The amazing thing is that it’s a two-way communication. Dogs try and understand what we want them to do while they leave us enough clues about how they are feeling. This post aims at informing you the best practices to maintain a healthy communication with man’s best friends.
Get the Basics Right
Before you can start communicating with your dog it’s important to maintain a healthy routine. This is will help fortify mutual love and respect and prevent some canine behavioral problems from occurring. The foundation of good mental and physical health will allow your dog to be receptive, thus paving the road for healthy communication. Start by ensuring regular checkups with your vet to make sure your buddy is healthy and get any pet meds and supplies only from reputed suppliers. You can easily get online everything your pet needs from trusted providers such as PetCareRX.
Enough Exercise: Dogs are easily bored when they are stuck indoors. Make sure your pet gets a healthy dose of outdoor time including regular sessions of off-leash activities.
Work Their Minds: Along with physical activities, it’s also important to provide dogs with enough mental stimulation. A simple game of hide-and-seek or a regimented training session can provide the necessary mental nourishment.
Socialization: If you fail to socialize your dog, it may develop a fear of other humans and animals. To ingrain the social skills at a young age, it’s advisable to schedule controlled meetings with other pets and humans during their puppy stages. Make sure the socialization sessions are done with dog-loving people and friendly pets. A traumatic socialization session can scar your pet for life.
3 Things You Need to Do to Communicate Effectively
Exude Confidence: The most important personality trait you need to possess in order to be an effective trainer is confidence. Your body language needs to be calm and confident without being threatening. Dogs can read body language superbly and your assertive tone and demeanor will be rewarded by attention and good behavior. To communicate effectively with your dog, make sure to maintain a relaxed and upright posture while giving commands. If you want to give a hand signal with the command make sure it’s simple and non-threatening.
Stop Punishing Start Rewarding: You want the training sessions to be happy experiences for your dog. This does not happen when you start yelling and punishing your dog for every mistake it makes. Punishing or smacking during training can not only lead to behavioral issues but it’s also ineffective. The problem with punishments is that some dogs start becoming habituated to the screaming and smacking. For example, they would attempt to steal food from the table and consider the smack on their snouts as an acceptable consequence. As a result, pet owners are often forced to increase the intensity of the punishment, which can lead to injury. Causing physical pain can also lead some dogs to develop an unhealthy fear of people. A reward based training technique is a much better approach, where the dog is rewarded for a desirable action. Also known as positive reinforcement, this is a highly effective technique that’s favored by most canine behaviorists. This technique does not come with the behavioral side effects and it makes training sessions fun and mentally stimulating.
Maintain Consistency: Thanks to their acute sense of hearing, dogs can detect subtle changes in tone and pitch. What you need to understand is that dogs cannot comprehend the actual meanings of the verbal commands. They are just good at remembering a certain set of sounds and responding in a specific manner after hearing them. This is why the key is to use the same tone, length, and hand gesture every time. For example, if you are training it to respond to a sharp and short ‘stay’ command then don’t change it to a longer ‘staaaaay’ when your dog fails to understand. This will only end up confusing your pet. It’s also important to remember not to send mixed signals. For example, if it’s trained not to get up on the couch then don’t ask it to snuggle up beside you when you are on it.
Dog Body Language Myths – Things That Are Lost in Translation
Dogs are undoubtedly the most expressive animals. Everything from their expressive gazes to their body language leaves us clues about how they are feeling. Sometimes we misread these clues and take action based on what we think the dog is trying to communicate. This can lead to a communication gap, which makes training and understanding them much more challenging. Following are a few canine behavioral traits that pet parents misread all the time.
Yawning: Much like their human parents, dogs yawn when they are tired. However, that’s not the only time they do it. Doggie yawns can be a sign of anxiousness or stress. This is why it’s not uncommon to see dogs yawning away during bath time or when they are hugged too tightly. Yawning can also be your dog’s way of telling you that he wants a break from something that’s stressing him out. That’s why some dogs go on a yawning spree when they are trained or whenever their parents use a strict tone of voice. What’s important to remember is that some yawns are completely meaningless. According to some experts, dogs often yawn to cool off their brains when they are inactive. The act of yawning improves circulation in their brains and helps bring the temperature down. Being the more intelligent species, it’s up to you to decode the meaning behind your dog’s yawns based on the situation. If it’s close to bedtime and your dog is tired from all the running around it did all day then a yawn is a mere sign of tiredness.
Tail Wagging: A dog’s wagging tail is commonly considered as a show of happiness and excitement. Unfortunately, that’s a dangerous generalization as tail wagging can mean a lot of different things. Some dogs wag their tails when they are fearful or when they are about to attack. The best way to determine if your dog is happy or not is by checking the position of the tail. If the wagging tail is tucked in between the legs then your dog is fearful, it’s best not to pet your dog at that time. If it’s raised up high and it’s creating a 90-degree angle with its body, then it’s a probable sign of aggression. This, of course, does not apply to breeds such as the pug and the Alaskan malamute, who have permanently raised tails.
Tail Position (When Wagging) Probable Mental State
Raised Up Aggressive
In Between Legs Fearful or Intimidated
In The Middle Happy and Content
Jumping To Greet: Most people consider that dogs jump on them to assert dominance. In a fear of losing their ‘alpha’ status, most parents try to train this behavior out of their dogs. This, however, is a complete myth you should forget everything about. Dogs do not jump on us to dominate us but they simply do it to appease us. Jumping to greet their owners is a sign of unadulterated happiness and excitement and considering it anything else is just wrong. Dogs also jump on us when they are unable to understand what we want them to do and the act of jumping up is their way of telling us “what do you want me to do”.
On Its Back: When a dog lies flat on its back exposing its belly, it can mean a couple of very different things. Firstly, it can mean that your dog feels totally secure in its environment and it’s a show of complete trust. This is why a lot of dogs choose to sleep on their backs when they are in a familiar space. Dogs can also expose their bellies to show they are nervous. They usually have a whale-eyed distressed look on their faces and they stiffen up their bodies. They also keep their heads in a fixed position when they are nervous. If you believe your dog is showing signs of nervousness, the best thing you could do is give it some space. However, if your dog is lying on its back and wagging its tail, then it’s belly rub time.