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What dogs look for in our language.

Every owner understands when getting a dog it is them who will have to provide for the dogs needs be it food, security or teaching them how to behave etc.  However the way many dogs act in certain situations would insinuate that they do not have the same beliefs.

Once the relationship begins (despite the persons good intentions) some dogs believe they must fulfill their own needs for example regarding perceived security needs when other dogs approach or when visitors come round. The dog may flee, bark or attack to address the danger rather than looking to the person for their response.

There are many reasons why some dogs attempt to fulfill their own needs and others look to the owner, the main reason being due to a lack of effective communication.

Human communication

When humans communicate with each other, studies have found our language is made up of 55% physiology (what we do with our bodies/ facial expressions etc.) 38% tonality (our tone) and 7% words (what we actually say). If we think about this statistic it provokes the question, what are the percentages when communicating with dogs that we will fulfill their needs?

As the dog does not have a widely spoken vocabulary as we do it would be safe to assume the words percentage is even less than our communication with other people. This then leads us to ask, how do we appear to be seen in each situation regarding their needs? And how do we learn a canine language ?

Dog training London

A lady in west London,  Chelsea called me recently for help with her German Shepherd dog who had aggression issue at the door and to other dogs.  Whilst I was there I saw the dog attempting to take care of his security needs and did so in the form of barking at people walking past the window. We being human know the people walking past are not a threat but this German Shepherd dog did not know. In fact each time he barked nobody came near the house (except the postman who the dog really did not like) so he thought the barking was working.

In this time of perceived danger when the dog would bark the lady would attempt to distract the dog with a can of stones or shouting.  Her dog would then look at her language in a time of a genuine security need and see her physiology was behind the dog looking to him/ or jumping about, her tone was agitated and her words (the smallest part of the language) were different each time.

canine language

The dog would assess the lady’s language in this instance and not see a person who was taking care of danger but someone who was agitated and annoyed. This response reinforced the dogs’ belief that he should be providing for his needs.

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