Canines have been our friends and companions for thousands of years, but do we really know how to speak their language?
Growing up around dogs, I was told I had a natural instinct or affinity for them. I was definitely magnetically drawn to them as a species , bringing any stray I found back home for some food and a cuddle, and still do. As I grew up I started reading books and watching programmes on the canine in general and I found that my logical brain had started taking over some of that natural communication I once had. I didn’t realise this at the time but it was only when I started to re-learn their language that I realised what I had forgotten.
Dog Listening, to me was like learning the magic words to open Aladdin’s cave. It brought back to me what I knew as a child, that a dog was not human, that it did not speak our language (no matter what you see on You Tube!) and they were a species with great kindness and we could learn a lot from them. I wanted to be their friend and enjoy their friendship, hopefully as much, I thought, as they would want from me.
Even if you have never had a dog as a pet, just sit and watch them some time without interacting (if you can, I know it can be hard). You will see their intelligence, their body language, how they interact with other members of the household, other pets and other dogs. Do they start the interaction first or join in later. Do they make direct eye contact or look away?Do they respond better to someone calm or someone who is not? I think we have forgotten in this interactive 24/7 world how to just be still and watch, like I did as a child. It will open up a whole new insight into their world and what they are trying to tell us.
I cant wait to learn what they can teach me tomorrow!
Follow my blog for more insights into your dogs world and how they fit into ours.
A great book (with lots and lots of photos) that every dog owner should own is
On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas
I would love to know what you think of this article, please leave a comment below, thank you
Once you get through the house training, setting your pups boundaries and probably some basic training and all is going well, be prepared. Because it isn’t all plane sailing from here, just when you think you have the perfect pup, things might start to go awry! Dogs hit their teenage stage usually between 8 month to 18months depending on breed. Obviously personality has a lot to do with this too as a strong boisterous personality might start testing you and your rules more than an easy going personality.
What to expect
Expect the unexpected and you wont be surprised! I know that sounds very general but if your dog who is usually quite compliant and comes when you call him all of a sudden starts doing their own thing or seems to be almost disobedient in some ways, this could be the start of some teenage behaviour. The age range I gave you above is a general guideline but some dogs can start ‘rebeling’ earlier than this or even a bit later, if you are really unlucky.
What do I do when my dog doesn’t listen to me?
That’s easy, you go back to basics and start building a strong and trusting relationship with them. They are looking for a leader at this stage of their lives, in the wild this is when they would now transition from ‘pups’ were they would get away with everything, to ‘adolescent’ and they would start learning from their adult pack members and babysitters. This is when adults would start reprimanding unacceptable behaviour and they would have to start learning to become a valuable member of their pack. In domestic terms, you are reminding them of the boundaries you set as a pup by being consistent with your own behaviour. Play can be very important here, dogs learn a lot through play through interactions with other members of the family, like whether they are allowed to jump up, knock you over, can they start the play and will you follow, obviously at this stage if your dog mouths you, this should be nipped in the bud asap, especially if you have children. Mouthing should be dealt with by quietly and gently taking the dog by the collar and putting to bed or in the back hall and play ends immediately. No eye contact or speaking to him while you do this emphasises to the dog he has done wrong because you no longer will interact with him. After a few times doing this you will find he will get this quickly and think first before he tries to mouth, your timing is the key here. All play should be started by you and finished by you, the dog then will see you as making decisions within the family. Dont fall for the big eyes, waggy tail and the ball or toy in the mouth while you are sitting watching TV or reading or usually doing something that doesn’t involve the dog, that is why he is trying to get you to interact! (Smart puppy!)
The main thing is stay firm in your rules and keep building that relationship. For more tips and help with your doggy dilemas go to my website 4dogenterprises.moonfruit.com or follow me on Twitter @Bernie_Browne
I’m now on Twitter!
See what it’s like to live in a 4 dog household, the ins and outs, the ups and downs all on 4 legs! follow Bernie_Browne on Twitter
Are you house training a pup or adolescent, are you trying to put down some basic rules and you’re having problems? I can help
Having 4 dogs to look after, 2 from pups and numerous foster pups, I can tell you the secrets to house training and setting down rules or boundaries your pup will understand. They will make mistakes, they are still young and learning, but your consistency is Key to everything you do at this impressionable stage. Be clear in your mind what you want and do it.
signs to help with quick house training, a pup will want to go- as soon as it wakes up, after it eats or drinks, after playing, it will start to smell around and circle before it squats , so be quick!. Pretty much every half hour while it is awake for the first few weeks. Use a code or command like ‘Go busy’ or ‘go toilet’ while they are out on the lawn or patio and lots of praise in soft excited tones when they suceed, even if you are there 20 mins, you learn the signs, your timing is key to how long you will be out there!
stay tuned for more training & behaviour tips very soon – http://ow.ly/9nhHS