By Cesar Millan

Many times when we think about how we communicate with our pets, we think about cause and effect. We say “sit” and they sit. We say “stay” and they stay. But there is another way that we communicate with our pets—through intuition or instinct.

As humans, we think of communication as a language system. We use language to express ourselves to each other, like when we tell upset children to “use their words” to express themselves. But dogs don’t have words and so they make us step outside our usual methods of connecting, which can help us communicate better with them and with each other.

When Daddy was nearing the end of his life, I began looking for a new pack member that Daddy would be able to teach and integrate into the pack. My friend had a pit bull who had just had a litter of puppies and Daddy and I went to meet them. I had my own idea of which pup would be best for the pack, but I wanted Daddy to have a chance to meet all of them himself.

As it turned out, Daddy bonded with the same puppy I liked—the one that would become Junior. We both had the sense, the instinct, that this was the dog that would fit in to our family. And Daddy was able to teach Junior in ways that went beyond what a human can do with words and treats. Just like when you’ve seen Daddy help rehabilitate dogs on The Dog Whisperer, he brought his calm, wise energy and helped make Junior the dog he is today. How was it that Daddy could choose the perfect puppy from the litter? Intuition and instinct. Dogs don’t have the luxury of using words and asking questions. They have to rely on their intuition and instinct and for the best ones like Daddy, their intuition rarely fails them.

In life, we can apply these lessons not just to our interactions with dogs, but also to our interactions with each other. Sometimes we rely too much on words—both to express ourselves and to listen to others. We need to develop our own intuition and our best instincts. When we speak to each other, we need to not just pay attention to the words coming out of our mouths but to sense the energy and emotion coming from the other person and be aware of the energy we give off to them.

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