Blue Cross blog
Communication is key between dogs and owners, says rescue pooch BaileyPosted on 21 Mar 2012
Rescue dog Bailey had a troubled past but he’s been given a second chance in life. This week he reveals that dogs really can understand what humans are telling them…
Hi friends (two and four-legged varieties),
I’ve been having a think about communication between dogs and humans – how do we do it?
I don’t speak human and humans don’t speak dog yet we have an understanding of what is needed.
For example, I can communicate different feelings by the way I bark. There is the playful yap, the guard dog version that is definitely a warning and the version that says “you have been talking too long and I want to continue my walk”.
There’s the “please can I go outside” bark, or “come and look, my hide chew is stuck under the sofa and I’d like you to get it out please”, or “can we play now”.
But what is so good is not that I have such an enormous repertoire but that Nice Lady understands what I’m saying to her. She will often use human language back to me just to confirm that she has understood and I bark my agreement.
It also works the other way because I understand what she is saying to me as well. Although sometimes I am a bit of a pickle and pretend that I never heard a certain command or word before in my life.
I do know a fair number of human words – sit, down, come, paw, flat (staffie speciality that one, you lie down with your legs stretched out behind you), beg, turn, spin, chin, touch, stand, jump, wait, stay, close, fetch, find, leave, breakfast, supper, bedtime, wee, no, go on, gentle – the list goes on.
Really it’s not too surprising that I am so literate because Nice Lady doesn’t stop talking to me.
Honestly she tells me everything – it’s enough to give a boy earache! Actually I really do love her talking to me. I feel that we are in a partnership and we share things – information, chats and food (although that is more one way as Nice Lady is not too keen on my raw meat even though I have given her pieces to try).
It makes me sad when I see dogs out and about who only get shouted at. Nobody ever says “well done”, or “good boy” to them when they do something right and they never hear anything positive.
But, oh dear, as soon as they step out of line they get a thump or a shout. Some people don’t talk to their dogs because they don’t think they understand, but we do.
Communicate with us and we will show you that we understand exactly what is being said.
Obviously this won’t be by answering in human language (although I’d love to see the look on the human’s face if we did!) but we will learn that certain words mean certain actions and we will build up a rapport with you that will be so strong we’ll be able to work out what you want before you even know what it is.
I know what sort of day Nice Lady has had before she even walks in the door, and I’m waiting for her with the appropriate greeting.
After all, it would be a very rare animal that didn’t ever want to be part of a pack or family.
All for now…
Licks and wags,