4 Things Frustrated Dog Owners Should Know by Mark Eckenrode
You’ve probably had a day or two when you felt like your dog just wasn’t paying any attention to you at all, right? You talked, you yelled, you shouted, maybe you jumped up and down and waved your arms, but she just wasn’t interested in anything you had to say to her in any tone of voice. You’re not alone.
1. Your dog isn’t human.
Unless you believe in pet psychics, there’s really no way for you to read your pooch’s mind and figure out exactly what she’s thinking. The good news is that, like many dog owners, problems you’re having can probably be traced to one simple thing: you’re trying to communicate with your dog from a human standpoint, and your dog isn’t a human. Sure, you know that, but lots of humans try to relate with their dogs in ways that they think are rational as humans. The problem is that dogs are driven in every act and every moment by very strong instincts. Deciphering those instincts and leveraging them to build a productive relationship is like finding keys to city.
2. Your dog doesn't speak English.
Take word “no,” for example. Does your dog speak English? Not understand English. Does she speak it? What’s meaningful to her is your tone of voice, not word itself. Now let’s think about that – we’re taking up excess time trying to teach our dog a word she’ll never speak and that probably doesn’t mean much to her anyway. Sure, it’s meaningful to us, but that’s only one side of equation. What about something that’s meaningful to both human and dog?
3. You know what a growl means, and your dog knows what a growl means.
If you think that mutually meaningful language doesn’t exist, you’re not thinking creatively enough. What does it say to you when a dog growls at you? Anything from “get away from my food” to “back off, dude,” right? Yet in every case, a dog’s growl typically means that she is not happy with whatever you’ve done. And you’ve seen dogs react to other dogs’ growls, right? So you know what a growl means, and your dog knows what a growl means. Where’s disconnect? Growl at your dog!