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Are You Talking to Me?

Are you talking to me?

Can you hear what your dog is saying when he talks to you?


We humans share amazing bonds with our dogs. We love and want them to be happy, well trained and adjusted in their lives with us. That isn't always easy to achieve, despite our best efforts, because we don't speak the same language. So, when training, out and about, or just hanging around your house with your pup, how do you interpret what your dog is telling you -- especially when he's trying to say he needs a break?

You need to know how to read his signals. Your dog may give any of these signs when feeling stressed:

  • Panting heavily for no reason
  • Ears pinned back
  • Eyes are bulgy; dog is looking around in a darting fashion
  • Nervous, skittish, trying to hide behind you
  • Total shut down; won’t listen to a command
  • Whining
  • Yawning
  • Tail tucked

What do you do in response when your dog is stressed?

  • Determine the cause (being in a new situation, a loud noise, unfamiliar flooring, etc.)
  • Give your dog some crate time if you are able
  • Act naturally, don’t baby your dog (if you do this, you are reinforcing that there is something to be stressed over)
  • Remove your dog completely from the stressful situation

You don’t have to “work” through a problem right then and there. You can always revisit it at another time, with a plan in place to set your puppy up for success.

Be aware of your dog's body cues at all times; be conscious of things that stress your dog. Add those to his training slowly, one at a time, one step at a time. Then you'll be sure you're hearing what your dog is saying to you, loud and clear.

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