Communication is the key factor when bonding with your dog. Dogs do perceive their surroundings differently to us and hence it’s important to realise these differences and learn how to adapt and adjust to build a perfect relationship with them.
Dogs do engage in visual, tactile, auditory and olfactory communication. Since they are unable to speak, their primary way of communicating to humans is through their body language i.e. eyes, ears, mouth, tail, even fur. They read our body language, learn what we’ve got to ‘say’ by observing our movements, gesticulation, facial expression and how we posture ourselves and then they respond to these movements. To the dog, body language is a reflection of what we think and how we feel and they can sense these nonverbal types of communication. They are much more meaningful to the dog than actual verbal commands however it has been shown that they do recognise different tones of voice and are able to learn around 165 words! The higher- pitched voice the better response from the dog- I tell you that!
This is why it is very important not to train your dog when you are angry or having a bad day. You will not be relaxed, your posture will be erect, you will be tense, the intonation of your voice will change and you will be more likely to lose your temper when something goes wrong.
On the other hand, we also have to teach ourselves how to read and understand the body language of our dog. Because, yet again, it is the way they ‘talk’ to us- what they want, need, or how they feel. Some behaviours are more easily identifiable than others. However, very often fear, stress or anxiety in dogs are commonly mistaken with aggression. Knowing the signs, signals and body language that the dog communicates to us is so incredibly important in giving them a safe, stress- free life.
So do go play with your dog. Learn about their habits, their likes and dislikes. Show them that your calm, assertive and confident approach allow you to build a strong and life lasting bond.