Dogs Think Were Crazy

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Dogs Think Were Crazy

by Kirsten Frisch

It took me several years to realize I was just talking to my dogs. Yes, talking. Not communicating. In humans, it is well known advice that communication is the key to all relationships. Of course, communication is a two way street. You can try to make yourself clear to another human in one hundred different ways, but if they aren't open to listening, you will get nowhere.

Surprisingly, your dog is actually listening to you. Desperately listening. He is trying to make sense of your crazy arm movements, your strange eye contact, your weird posturing, and of course your loud voice.

I am guilty of it too. I spent years reading everything I could get my hands on about dog behavior. What I forgot to do was just listen to what MY dog's were telling me. My nose buried in a dog training book. My dog across the room watching me. Wondering what I would do next. Would I scramble to the kitchen when that loud noise started for no reason (the phone). Would I suddenly jump up and walk into the room with food (pizza delivery). Would I raise my voice and jump up and down when that other human showed up (friend coming over), and then proceed to dominate them with my arms (hug them).

If I were a dog, I would growl or cower when a human approached. To a dog, humans seem unpredictable. They might have a pizza, but they also might try to hug you. Wouldn't you try to control unpredictable as best you could?

Unless we humans initiate the action, we are on the defense to strangers. We have created environments where we feel safer about social human-human interactions...bars, restaurants, and stores. We know on a large scale which of these social places we feel most comfortable. We like to hang out with like minded individuals.

Why is it, that we expect our dogs to just "get along" with everyone? We can't figure out why they are shy or aggressive towards other dogs or people. We want socially perfect dogs. How many people do you know are socially perfect? Surely, not me. I get tired and cranky after a few social hours at a bar. My friend Kiana can go for hours and hours.

Maybe what we humans could do for our dogs is just sit quietly and listen to them (keeping your paws to yourself of course). We could stop demanding. We could try and be more predictable for our dogs. When your dog is staring at you, he might not want anything. It is just he gets a treat every time, and that is predictable.

Remember, communication is a two way street.

Kirsten Frisch has worked with sled dogs for over 8 years. She has handled dogs in Alaska for mid and long distance races such as the Copper Basin 300 and Yukon Quest 1000 mile race. Her background also includes Veterinary Technician, sled dog rescue and foster, artist, and traveller. You can learn more about Kirsten and sled dogs at

Kirsten Frisch - EzineArticles Expert Author

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