9. Using Words More Than Body Language
Dogs might be able to deduce the meaning of a few key words (e.g., walk, treat, toy, off), but they can’t understand human language. What they rely on to figure out what we mean is our body language. Unfortunately, we can easily send mixed signals if we’re only paying attention to what our mouths are saying and not what our bodies are saying.
If you go to any beginner dog training class, you’ll often see people saying one thing but doing another, and a confused dog trying to discern what is being asked of them. For instance, telling a dog to “stay” while leaning forward toward the dog and holding out a hand like a traffic cop is, in body language, actually inviting the dog to come toward you. But when the dog does, she gets reprimanded for breaking her stay command, which is confusing.
A great experiment is to spend a whole day not saying a word to your dog, but communicating only with your body. You’ll see just how much you “talk” with your body without realizing it and learn how to use your movements and body positions to get the response you need from your dog.
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