The dog is the best friend of humans. But how can you also be your dog’s best friend? Even if we look at dogs and humans purely objectively, we quickly notice that we are very different. But not only externally there are differences, especially in communication, dog and human speak different languages. How you can still become your dog’s best friend, we show you in this blog post.
Express yourself consistently and clearly.
Dogs understand nonverbal (body language) cues better than verbal (spoken language) ones. This is also why a dog doesn’t understand what we mean by “sit” or “down” from the start. Dogs, however, have a sense of our body language from the start. Studies have shown that dogs, compared to all other canids, have the greatest interest in humans and like to give them their attention. They want to learn to understand us! And this is exactly what we should use when living with our dog.
Pointing gestures are particularly well understood by our dogs. This is probably because dogs have learned that hands are a reliable source of positive things e.g. food, reaching for the leash announcing the walk, playing together, or the like. Puppies can respond to our pointing gestures from a very young age and even interpret them correctly most of the time. Therefore, you should be especially careful when using your hands with your puppy. Show your puppy exciting and great things that are worth following your hand for. This will be of great use to you later in training!
It is important that you consciously use pointing gestures when interacting with your dog and do not “waste” them by carelessly pointing at something that does not interest or even harm your dog. Any bad experience your dog has with your hands can contribute to your dog becoming hand shy.
Meet your dog with kindness.
We, humans, are usually taller than our dogs because of our upright gait. Dogs know full well that height and weight can determine who is the stronger and so they also assess threats. If we approach our dog by being upright and leaning forward at the same time, we present quite a threatening figure. Also, sticking out our hands from above is not a very friendly gesture to our dog. Your hand is the first human body part to fall below the individual distance (that is, the distance your dog perceives as comfortable). Some dogs resist such a gesture, threaten or even bite you. Therefore, it is important that this especially the first contact between you and your dog is on one level. Make yourself small by crouching down, slowly offer your hand to your dog and let him take the last step towards you. This is exactly what expresses respect and is considered very polite by our dogs.
Excursus Recall: We also tend to lean forward when recalling. However, it is better if we lean back slightly and even take a few steps back when we call our dog to us. This looks inviting to our dog and he feels less threatened by our height.
Dogs don’t understand exceptions! Today “yes” and tomorrow “no” your dog will not understand. Once your dog has learned what he is allowed to do and what he is not allowed to do, it is important to keep this way of education. Otherwise, you will become untrustworthy to your dog and jeopardize your relationship with each other. Some dogs even react physically to the constantly changing opinion of their human with the learned helplessness. So if your dog experiences constant failure, this failure leads to a build-up of stress hormones and can affect his ability to learn and concentrate. Therefore, consider early enough whether your dog should be allowed to cuddle with you on the sofa or whether he should lie in his basket. By the way, we are real sofa fans ☺️.
Become your dog’s best friend now!
We hope these tips help you out! For more tips and tricks, download the Pupy app now and learn exciting exercises with your dog today!