Dog Wearing Clothes

Talk to the animals? Not so much…

Just had a note from the owner of a dog I worked with in Canberra recently--saying how hard it is not to talk to her Frenchie as if he's a little human, when she's giving him instruction about his behaviour. It's quite fascinating that we find it so easy to relate to an entirely different species--canis lupus familiaris--as if it's just like us.

I think part of the reason is how significantly dogs have evolved to understand us--not the other way around. Studies from Duke University in Texas have shown that because their intimate connection with us for thousands of years, dogs have evolved to recognise our facial expressions and physical gestures. Did you know that dogs are the ONLY non-human species which understands us when we point to something? We take it for granted that we can point to a toy and tell our dog to "go get it..." and they will. Even great apes, chimpanzees and monkeys don't understand what we mean when we point. And wolves don't get it either.

And yet, the sad fact is that when we relate to a dog as if she's human, we're not honouring her animal nature and her need to be respected as a different species, with different emotional, mental and physical needs. And that can cause behaviour problems from anxiety to obsession and even aggression.

Love your dog to the moon and back, of course, but give her the love she needs as a dog, not a furry human.

Always remember the Dog Fulfillment Formula:

Rules, boundaries and limitations + exercise discipline and then affection = happy dog

Leave a Comment