New York City Dog Rescue

March 5, 2013 by NYCDogRescue   comments (0)

So many people are under the mistaken impression "animal communication" is something only physics are capable of doing. The reality is, most of us are designed for communicating non-verbally with your dogs. Dogs (and many animal species) communicate almost entirely non-verbally, using body signals, eye movements, and intuition. Below are a few easy steps to establish a greater bond along with your dog using non-verbal communication.
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1) Clicker training

Clicker training is hands-down the best method of animal training, employing a "click" sound to strengthen desired behavior. Initially produced by a horse trainer, clicker training is really a form of operant conditioning. The theory is always that any animal (including humans) will be taught to repeat an action that features a positive consequence, and prevent actions which have a negative consequence. What also makes clicker training unique is that the positive reinforcement occurs as the behavior is occurringâ€"not afterward, much like many negative types of training. For instance, in order to housetrain a puppy to ease herself outside, you reward the experience throughout the act itself (if she pees outside, obviously). Many people will punish a puppy for peeing inside the house, after the fact, that is completely counterproductive and negative to boot.

Remember, any kind of negative reinforcement will weaken your bond along with your dog. But clicker-trained dogs learn new behaviors, commands and gestures quickly, easily, and enthusiastically. And it's easy.

I've used clicker training to instruct and reinforce other kinds of non-verbal communication listed below.

2) Hand signals.

Among the principles behind clicker training is the "click" sound is totally consistent. Vocal commands, however, are not consistent, due to the very nature of our individual human voices. My British partner pronounces the command "Stay" differently than I actually do, for instance. And dogs, using their excellent hearing, can hear the main difference. Any improvement in modulation (vocal tone, volume, pronunciation of words) can confuse your dog. Did you ever notice that sometimes your dog will "sit" for you personally although not for, say, your cousin? This is why. Your voices will vary.

Though hand signals, your pet is never confused by verbal modulations. Hand signals will also be excellent ways to talk with your dogs from the distance. My dog Chloe loves to run through the fields, of course, if I would like to get her attention I first blow on a whistle (which in turn causes her to look my way); i then make the "come" signal with my arm. It really works every timeâ€"especially because she always turns into a click along with a treat when she comes.

3) Eye Gestures â€" It's true that many dogs will avoid his full attention in the beginning, just because a "stare" in canine terms can be a challenge of dominance. Submissive dogs will avert their gazes to signal their willing submission. With humans, however, eye contact may become an easy method for your dog to state his needs, and vice versa. For instance, if my dog Chloe has to leave the house to relieve herself, she will take a look at me and then apply on the door and back at me. Quite simple. If I want her to leave out from under my feet while I am cooking, I'll look at her then apply at her dog-bed, then returning to her. They will take some practice, however with repetition and positive reinforcement (and clicking), your dog will catch on quickly.

Negative reinforcement and dominance-based alpha male trainers might criticize this method, claiming that the dog shouldn't "boss you around." But think how frustrating it's for people humans once we feel we are not being understood and heard. My dog is much more confident realizing that we could communicate her needs as well as mine. She also seems to feel more respected and cared for. In reality, I'd type of a Helen Keller moment with my dog, when she finally realized I understood what she was "saying" in my experience. She had had diarrhea late one night and kept running up to my bed, making eye contact, after which running for the door. Was she "bossing me around"? Noâ€"she was trying her far better to honor my request that she not poop inside your home.

You might express it was my dog who trained me in the eye gesture method. And I am very grateful to her. Interspecies communication is really a cool thing. Again, because some dogs usually are not at ease with direct his full attention, it is best to practice this technique slowly, and/or make use of a trainer.

4) Intuition

All people have it; not many of us use it. Every trainer, whether s/he believes in psychic animal communication or otherwise not, will discuss the need for "listening" for your dog; of spending quiet time together, of sleeping in the same room. This all is a form of intuitive bond, as a dog learns to "read" your vibrations and your moods. In the event you begin to pay attention to your dog's behavior, you'll notice that s/he will approach you in another way depending on your different moods. So give consideration. And thank your pet for paying such caring awareness of you.


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We spend lots of time, energy and money wanting to train our dogs to behave like humans. I do believe most of us can benefit from training our humans to behave much more like dogsâ€"at least in terms of communication. Your bonds will become much stronger due to this. And you'll have a significantly happier, more confident and more obedient canine companion.