NRTA Main Index


spacer for links

Having Problems

Cranky Canine

   Communicating With Your Dog

     You may have realized by now that dogs aren't simply the easily pleased, ball-chasing animals that popular myth portrays. As with any species, they have feelings, needs and emotions that must be handled appropriately. The only difference between humans and dogs is in the way that they communicate this information.

     Just as in getting to know a new person, you're not going to know everything about your dog as soon as you meet him. It takes time and commitment to learn about his habits and general demeanor. If you adopt him as a puppy, this time and commitment will ultimately depend on your interaction and time spent together. Puppies will adapt and mold to just about any situation.

     Another factor in the way that dogs behave lies in the genes of the breed and their bloodline. Were his parents family pets, or working dogs? What kind of influences has he already been exposed to? And so on. No matter what, behavioral traits are likely to be modified by the training and attention he receives from you.

     The key to communication with your dog is to remember that he tries to understand you, just as much as you try to understand him. If you spend time and have patience with your dog and firmly establish your position as the boss (or in his mind alpha dog,) he is likely to be much more responsive to your communication. If you lose your temper and act aggressively towards him, more often that not he is only going to feel confusion.

     If for some reason your dog looks quizzically at you much of the time congratulations. This probably means that what ever your saying has broken the human/canine language barrier and he's amazed that you're not only talking to him, but also putting forward a strong argument for canine cyber-genetics. (That last bit was a joke)

Fearful Fido

     If you have a timid dog, you may notice how Uncomfortable he gets in a stressful situation. Some dogs are so fearful that they tremble and recoil when nothing is particularly threatening, but the environment is unfamiliar. If this description fits your dog, try to reassure your dog by making changes to your own behavior.

  • Don't nurture fear by babying the dog. Use normal, enthusiastic language.
  • Show confidence. Your dog can detect your nervousness.
  • Step out and show enthusiasm. If your dog cowers, you should do the opposite of cowering.

Avoid making excuses for Fido. Instead, set expectations and follow through.


                    NRTA (C) 1996-2016 All rights reserved