Bark, woof, growl! Your dog is speaking to you, but not in the way you think! This year our goal is to help you understand your dog better. You know the old saying, "happy dog, happy life".... or something a long those lines.
How does your dog really communicate? It's obviously not through English because every time I tell my dog to give me a back massage, I get a blank stare and a head tilt right back at me. Then, when I stand up and lay on the floor, he just licks me on the face and lays down next to me. What gives?! We are clearly not on the same page.
Dogs actually communicate through body language, and attention reinforces the behavior. What really happened when I asked my dog for a back massage? He only understood that I was making a noise and looking at him. Once I laid down, he decided to investigate this bizarre behavior. When a dog communicates with a fellow dog, it is all through body language and NOT English. In order for your dog to learn something, they have to be shown exactly what you want them to do. Otherwise it is a game of trial and error. If the kids drop food on the floor, your dog learns that begging is ideal in that situation. In order to prevent them from begging, I always put a bed by the dinner table and tell them to lay there. Then reward for the right behavior.
So the next time you tell your dog to stop barking or jumping. make sure you have shown them what to do first!