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Serving Kitsap and Pierce Counties  from our Gig Harbor Studio + Virtual Training & Consults Worldwide!

Sound Dog Connection

Dear Human

By in
Dear Human

Dear Human,

There are some thoughts I must share in the interest of enhancing our bond through more effective communication.

I try very hard to speak your language and observe your customs. I do not eliminate on the floor or lift my leg on the trees you have inside. I refrain from enjoying the buffet you leave out in the tall bin in the kitchen. Let’s not even discuss the temptation that is the litterbox……yum….

I use the round special bowl in the kitchen for hydration and avoid those big raised ceramic bowls that are always full and conveniently located in different rooms of the house.

I chew on my toys not your toys, even though they are both scattered on the floor.

I ask that you speak dog. Perhaps we shall call this “dogmunication” with you attempting to speak my language. To help you I will share some items of importance. In no particular order…..

dog noseI live in the moment… fully present in each moment. Try it, you’ll like it. When you are with me release expectations and just enjoy. It’s great…like a vacation for your mind. One of my favorite activities is to smell things, especially outside. I like walks and worry little about the destination, but the adventure is awesome. I have a powerful sense of smell. You see things with dimensions, color, and texture and I smell that way…with dimension. I can smell things the way you can stare at your computer screen for long periods.

Let me put this to you scientifically… my sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times more accurate. I have 300 million olfactory receptors and you have only 6 million….not too shabby but 6 million vs 300 million☺ snap! I win (tail wag).

So what does this mean? It means I experience much information. I am bombarded with information and I must disseminate it or roll in it, pee on it, make a mental note, investigate, and catalog each odor I encounter. It also means I need you to sign me up for K9 Nose Work class. Click on the Nose Work tab on the main page. It is a series of classes where I get to use my most magnificent sense of smell. It is a class that will enhance my focus and boost my confidence and provide mental stimulation. Oh, and you will be my partner/teammate through the classes. Don’t worry, I am a patient teacher and will show you lots.

Next, I try to be fluent in your language but it’s not my first language. My native tongue is non-verbal’s or body language. That’s how I “hear” you and speak to you. I vocalize at times but that is a small part of my communication picture. I speak volumes with my body, tail, tongue, teeth, lips, coat, eyes, ears. I use my position and space. For fun, try one entire day to “dogmunicate” with me using your body, eyes and gestures. I will understand.

You are a primate…I am not. I am a canid, no worries; I still think you are cool. As a primate you like to hug…primates hug. Hugging increases production of oxytocin in primates. Oxytocin is referred to as the love hormone and affects human’s greatly. The oxytocin boost from hugging can have a positive effect on your physical and emotional health. In fact, touching me raises your oxytocin level. I also have oxytocin and it has a similar effect on me as it does with you, but hugging does not increase my oxytocin at all. In fact hugging is rude and restraining to most canids. Sure I may tolerate the hugs you give me, because we have a relationship. It limits my freedom and places a face in my face. I have known dogs that have felt the need to bite or snap while being hugged. I don’t ask you to eat poop with me so please don’t hug me. Please don’t let children hug me.

About television, I know you enjoy watching and I can enjoy hanging out on the couch with you. Please let’s not watch Caesar Milan! That show is not reality…reality tv we know is not real. Yep confusing here, I know. It is for entertainment value, like The Bridezilla’s. It’s not based in science, Caesar Milan that is… Dominance theory is mostly a myth (it exists in the wild, but you and I are maxing and relaxing in the PNW, not the wild). I am dog, not a wolf. I am not trying to achieve dominance, I am not a status seeking individual. I repeat a behavior that has been reinforced, that’s how I roll. I jump on the couch because it’s comfy and you are there. I jump on your friends to say hello and get some attention. I am not saying I am better than them…just a simple dog greeting vs that primate greeting stuff. When we walk, I walk in front of you because I have a much better sense of smell and I have things to do…pee-mail to read. I do not walk in front of you in a show of dominance. If I eat before you and walk through a door way before you, it’s because I can and has nothing to do with dominance. I don’t want to take over the world I just want to be with you. I can sleep in your bed and this will not go to my head but provide with me with a good night’s rest near you. I will not think I am dominant but loved and part of the family.

This dominance theory stuff is as ridiculous as you saying the world is flat. You guys figured that one out awhile back. What is taking so long with using available science for improving our relationship? I am not a wolf. I am a domesticated animal… a dog. Living in the moment… doing what feels good… repeating behaviors that have earned reinforcers in the past… trying to get your attention and communicate with you… being a dog.

Dominance theory has changed the human-dog relationship and adds an adversarial element. TV/internet/books/human friends tell you I am trying to be dominant and this can lead to humans using punishment based training methods to “correct my dominant behavior”. This can lend itself to some trainers and humans that yell, hit, correct, scold, spray, throw things, jam fingers in dog’s necks, and/or use prong collars or choke chains.

Please try to learn and speak my language. Use current science to teach me what it is you want me to do and empower me to become the focused confident best friend you want me to be.

Regards, woofs and wags,
Your pup

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