Does your dog talk to you?

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I know dogs don’t really “talk”, at least not in English…or any other human language. But do they still talk to us with their barks, their eyes, their body?
I noticed something about Jack recently that has sparked this post. Jack developed some incontinence issues about a year ago – a bit of age-related leaking. To help control it, he’s on a low dose of Proin, but I also take him outside for bathroom breaks regularly. We usually walk up our driveway – about 100 feet – and I nudge him over to the grass or towards some bushes so he can “go pee”. I’ve been using that command whenever he pees so he learns it and he’s gotten pretty good at peeing on command.
Each night I take Jack and Maggie for a short walk up our driveway so they can relieve themselves before bed. Sometimes Jack just doesn’t want to go and I’ll nudge him onto the grass or take him by the collar and walk him over to his favorite bush. He used to just wander around or just start walking back to the house and I would stand there saying “go pee, go pee, please Jack, go pee” until I gave up.


That expression says it all...

That expression says it all…


But lately, he’s taking a different tactic with me. Because he knows there are treats waiting when we get back in the house, he likes to get the peeing part over quickly, so, if he doesn’t have to go, he just sits down. I’ll tell him to “go pee” and he will either take a few steps and pee or he will just sit down.
He just started doing this the last few weeks, but I thought what a clever boy – he made his intent known to me very clearly by sitting – almost as if to say, “I don’t have to go mom”. And then it dawned on me, that our dogs do speak to us all the time if we are just willing to hear and translate dog into English.

Even Maggie, who isn’t a social as Jack sent me a loud and clear message the other day. Her limp comes and goes and when it is bad, we try and rest her, which means no walks. Some days she’s fine with that, and some days she isn’t. The other day, her limp was pretty bad, but she was anxious to go on the walk. I brought her out and started up the driveway, but when I saw how bad the limp was I turned back to the house – I didn’t want her exerting herself. She stopped and looked at me like I was crazy. I managed to get her to the threshold of the door but then she stopped, sat down and turned her head away from me to look up the driveway. I tried to coax her back in the house, but I got the same head turn. She was telling me clearly what she intended to do and it was to go on that walk. I gave up and let her go on a VERY short walk with us.

How about you – does your dog talk to you?

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  1. All of my dogs have strong verbal skills.
    jan recently posted…Former Best in Show escorted from Madison Square Garden by securityMy Profile

  2. What a wonderful post! If we pay attention, our pups tell us so much and sometimes they teach us things too. Sometimes when I’m confused about Haley’s behavior, if I stop and give it a lot of thought, I discover something new she’s trying to communicate. Just like Jack, lol!
    Elaine recently posted…Who Would Your Dog Vote for in 2016?My Profile

  3. That is the biggest Mom has learned in our nose work and tracking sports. We dogs read body language and study routines. We know so much about humans, but humans don’t read us well at all. Part of our success at our sports is Mom learning to read us which also carries over into every day life. It is amazing to her how much we tell her with our body language.
    Emma recently posted…Turn Mealtime Into Fun Time #PAW5My Profile

  4. Yes, both pups do! Buzz makes it very clear when he wants to play fetch with his favorite ball. He’ll grab it & drop it right in front of me (regardless of whether I’m sitting on the couch, on a chair, or am outside in the yard doing yard work). If I don’t react immediately and throw it for him, he will sit next to the ball and wait as long as it takes me to throw the darn ball, lol! He’s extremely patient about it, too – he has waited for me to throw it for about 30 mins!!
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…Comment on Win 5 Natural Solutions For Your Dog’s Sensitive Skin #Giveaway by K9sOverCoffeeMy Profile

    • Our Sally used to do that – she would continually pick it up and drop it.
      mkob recently posted…Does your dog talk to you?My Profile

  5. I’m sure dogs can talk :o) For Easy the trigger is: look what I have… then he starts to bark (probably giveittotheweimaranergiveittotheweimaraner). He also can talk with his face, he has a “oh man – face” and a “wow really? -face” …and we all fear the “let’s see what I will do next-face” :o)
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog MISCHIEF MOANDAYMy Profile

  6. Oh yes, especially when treats are involved, they can make themselves understood quite perfectly.

  7. I live with canine epilepsy & rely on AEDs (anti seizure drugs) to control my seizures. Recently, we have modified my cocktail, slowly decreasing Phenobarbital & introducing Zonisamide ( I also take Potassium Bromide 2X daily & Keppra as a cluster buster). Since decreasing my phenobarbital dose by 50% (we must go slowly) I have become much more present. My huMom has seen a tremendous change in my behavior & one of those changes is my ability to communicate what I want & how I’m feeling. It’s true if you were not paying attention you many not see/hear me but those around me are truly amazed by the change in me. I love to communicate with my huMom & those around me. I let them know when I want a treat; which is almost always but I know when to ask & when not to ask 😉 I’ll let them know if I’m ready to go home from a walk or if I need a drink. I have many expressions such as happy, excited, bored, aloof, playful, silly, quiet & loving. Yes, this dog does talk toy you 🙂 Nose nudges.
    CEO Olivia recently posted…Silly Dog Sundays ~ Feb. 21st EditionMy Profile

    • Nose nudges are like a tap on the shoulder, aren’t they?
      mkob recently posted…Does your dog talk to you?My Profile

      • 3 bum swings! 3 more! It’s interpretation can be mixed depending on where the nose nudge is placed and how 😉 Sometimes it’s a ‘hey, how you doing?’ or could mean ‘who are you?’ or more tenderly in place of a kiss. I don’t kiss, I prefer the nose nudge 🙂
        CEO Olivia recently posted…Dogs Who PaintMy Profile

  8. All of my dogs have spoken to me in their own way. Bentley speaks with his eyes and body language with I understand. Pierre is the first dog that actually communicates with his voice. If you ask him a question, he answers by barking. If I tell him to do something and he doesn’t want to do it, he sass barks at me. The funniest thing he does is ask if he can jump up next to us on the couch or the bed. It is a sound that isn’t a bark or howl. It actually sounds as if he is asking permission. He will not join us until we tell him it is okay. If he ever learns to enunciate, I am in trouble! LOL! ☺
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  9. Great post!
    Yuppers Dante and Ziva talk to us all the time. If i’m getting ready to go for example and Dante knows he’s getting left behind he’ll sulk and go lay on the carpet in front of the front door. Leashes and he runs to the door and sits waiting patiently. Got to go out? He stands at the back door and stares at me until I let him out. Big *sighs* if he’s bored with me…
    They are so funny!
    Ziva does the nose nudges when she wants something.
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  10. Love it!! Cocoa for sure talks to us all the time. It is scary sometimes how she seems to know what we are saying to her and respond. The other night she was asking for food from Rodney and I told her if she came and gave me a kiss I would get her a bite and she ran over to kiss me. She is very vocal but also will bang her bowls and she has looks, you know. Like her eyes tell us so much!!
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  11. My first girl communicated to me the same way that Jack communicates to you when I would demand that she go potty. She learned that I needed some concrete signal on the occasions when she didn’t have to go potty and she chose to sit to tell me that there was no need for me to keep hounding her. It took a couple times for her to teach me her signal. On a different track, my second girl is so clear in telling us what she wants. She will get our attention and then look directly at what she wants us to give her. My third girl does not often ask for anything. So when she talks or “pesters” we know she needs to go out. I watch their body language when we’re walking on the local trail, or out and about, for all kinds of signs of what they know is nearby that I have not yet seen, heard, or smelled.

    • Our Sally would do that intense look too – mostly at the treat jar.
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  12. Ducky is, without a doubt, THE most vocal dog I’ve ever had. And persistent, too! She barks at us to play, to go potty, to alert us to something outside, and when she just wants attention.

    Shadow learned all of her dog-to-human communication skills from Callie. “Always be polite for as long as possible and only bark AT the humans when absolutely necessary.” Poor Callie had some accidents in the house after her chemo treatments, and I could see from the look in her eyes that she was upset about it. I’d just give her a kiss and a chest rub, tell her “I know Sweetie”, and just clean it up. She knew I wasn’t upset with her for something she couldn’t control.
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  13. awe, bless jack and maggie! gambler talks to me when he wrecks something then grabs it and runs around the house rooing.
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  14. Sam rarely barks but his eyes speak volumes. Sometimes they are soulfully sweet, other times, quite impish. And those sideway glances over the shoulder…definitely defiance. 😉

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