Does your dog talk to you?
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.
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?