Interacting With Your Australian Labradoodle

Jack

As humans we communicate primarily through words. Especially in this age of texting and instant messaging we find ourselves using words and emojis to convey our thoughts and do very little reading body language. The problem with this is our dogs communicate primarily through body language. While it may seem like our dogs understand specific words and we train them to associate those words with specific actions, they are mostly responding to a learned intent from us that they have associated with that word. You can actually test this by approaching them and making a motion for them to sit while saying something like “trash-can”. You will notice in most cases that they will sit.

Dogs pay far less attention to our words because they are focusing on the energy and intent we are expressing. Tone of voice also matters as well as body language. Energy is how dogs communicate with each other and you can see this anytime dogs get together. A dog will indicate submission with body language. A dog will indicate dominance through body language. You can see this in the ear position, head position, shoulder position, tail position, as well as an overall stiffening of the body in certain manners.

In fact, words can sometimes confuse a dog. They hear you saying something over and over again, but sometimes don’t fully understand what your words and finger pointing mean. They are watching your body language, tone of voice, pleasure or displeasure in them, facial expressions, and your overall anxiety or frustration levels. When training a dog intention plus emotion equal your energy. Calm assertive energy is what dogs are looking for. When we are calm and assertive, our emotions are balanced and our intent is clear. Dogs understand this behavior because it is natural for them. On the other hand, negative emotions and lack of firm intent presents passive energy and confuses our dogs.

This is why you can’t stop a barking dog by angrily yelling. The dog doesn’t hear you commanding it “NO!”. They hear you joining in the barking, so their excitement increases. That’s also why baby talk confuses dogs as they read it as submissive and passive energy which translates to them feeling they need to take control. This energy of feeling bad they are being left while you go to work or feeling bad they are whining while crate training is actually teaching them a lot of negative behaviors. They may unnaturally feel they need to take the charge over you and become even more anxious or dominant. Dogs follow calm and assertive energy because it is what their instincts tell them to do. Grabbing a dog and being rough isn’t being assertive. Projecting sad emotions on them isn’t being assertive either. Finding a calm and assertive energy to approach your dog, direct your dog, and instruct your dog is essential to a happy and balanced dog.

“It becomes very obvious, by reading a dog, how stable or unstable his human companion is. Our dogs are our mirrors” – Cesar Millan

 

The video below is geared towards new puppy families, but even if you have an adult dog the same principles can be used as what Robby talks about in the video here: