Despite what TV and film might make us think (we're looking at you, Scooby-Doo), our dogs cannot talk to us - at least not in the way we'd like. While some owners are exploring innovative technology to chat with their pets, most pet parents learn to communicate with their pups by simply spending time together and responding to changes in their behavior or body language.
With that in mind, here are five things that your dog wants you to know and has been trying to tell you!
I learn to behave through repetition and rewards.
Dogs of all ages learn through repetition. If they bark when you get home and you respond - they will continue to bark when you get home. If they jump on you and you allow that - they will continue that behavior. However, rewarding good behavior is also a learned experience - and one that will bring you both rewards for its entire lifetime. It's critical to start training your pup - whether it's a puppy or an older dog, as soon as it comes home. From house training (the best house training tool are poochie bells) to having it come to you when you call, to simple behaviors such as sit and stay, all keep your pup engaged, and help them understand what you want. Dog’s want to please, so telling them they are a great boy/girl when they are just sitting next to you doing nothing helps to reinforce that good behavior. Treats are a great way to get started but giving them the all-important butt or tummy rubs are just as rewarding for pups! In fact, in daycare we don’t use treats - only positive reinforcement for jobs well done!
It's important that I eat the right food.
Some dogs will eat anything you put in front of them, others just can’t stand what is being put in front of them… As dog daycare owners, we recognize when dogs are on good diets - because food also impacts a pup’s behavior. Your dog is what it eats, and its diet is closely linked to its health. When they have the right amount of nutrients, your dog will stay happy and healthy and, more importantly - full of love and energy! As a result, you should know exactly what to look for in your dog food and stay away from food and snacks that are overly processed, are filled with carbs, and contain the highest allergy producers: chicken, chick peas, sweet potato, legumes, and peas. .
I don't like to be left alone.
Dogs are genetically social animals, which means they love to spend time with both their human and doggy friends. When they cannot do this, their behavior tends to change and they may seem sad, withdrawn, or even angry. While this may not have been much of an issue during the pandemic, and the whole family was at home - returning to normal (or work and school) means that your dog may be spending more time alone than ever before. As a result, they may also be dealing with separation anxiety. Thankfully, there are various ways to resolve this issue. For example, at WholeDogz, we offer holistic doggy daycare - where your pup can relax, make friends and have fun while you're stuck at work all day!
You can teach an old dog new tricks.
Despite the popularity of this phrase, you can teach an old dog new tricks. In fact, many studies suggest that it's actually easier to teach older dogs, as they tend to be less hyperactive and more focused than puppies. You can see this in how they respond to Puzzles, as they often solve them much quicker as they get older. Either way, the key to teaching any dog a new trick is to be patient and supportive. Puzzles are a great way of keeping your pup’s cognitive abilities in tip-top shape, especially as it ages.
I love you!
While this one might seem a little obvious based on all the tail-wagging and puppy-dog eyes, your dog loves you - a lot. One quote that perfectly encapsulates this is: "Dogs might be in just a small part of our lives, but to them, we are their whole life" - and it's important to remember this. After a busy day at work- even if the first thing you want to do is to get in bed, spend a little time with your dog. Let them know how great they are - and that you love them too.