So many people speak about their dogs in terms of how they wish they were. If you had a dollar for every time you had heard or said the words “If only he/she could talk, the stories we would hear…” you’d probably be a very rich dog owner. But if dogs could talk, would they be so special to us? The chances are that we would still adore them every bit as much as we do, but the fact remains that much of what we get from owning a dog comes from the interaction that we have because they cannot speak. It just means that we find other ways to communicate.
Dogs can tell you a lot with a look. If they are hungry, they will make it clear by very patiently following you and looking pointedly at where they know their food to be kept. They will then thank you for feeding them by wagging their tail and affectionately nuzzling you – which may or may not be welcome at the time depending on the ratio of dog slobber to the price of your outfit. But, in many ways, the truth is that your dog will train you to some extent while you are training it.
Dogs may not be able to talk, but they communicate a lot with their eyes, their tail and their body language. And of course, they will bark. We learn to read these barks. A short, sharp bark will often signify excitement. A deep, low growl will warn of danger or threat. For many owners, the inquisitive yip is the best of all – the dog wants to learn from you, and trusts you to teach it.