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It’s hard to believe it’s already only one week until Christmas. This is also the week that my pack and I go on vacation until next year, so this will be my last Sunday message until 2017. Next year is going to bring some great new things with it, so stay tuned for all the updates and surprises.

It’s interesting to note that Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa all begin together this year, with the first day of Hanukkah on Christmas Eve, while Kwanzaa starts on Boxing Day, but I have a question for you about Christmas Eve — at midnight on December 24, have your dogs ever started talking to you?

According to legend, this is the time and date when all animals are given the ability to speak. Generally, it happens at midnight on Christmas Eve, though what happens next varies. In some places, the animals talk all night. In others, the ability only lasts for a few minutes at midnight, marking the time between Jesus’ birth and the entrance of the Magi to the manger — the animals didn’t want to give away their secret to the visiting kings, after all.

Now, before you decide to stay up late on the 24th to find out whether this is true, I can save you some time. Your dogs do not gain the magic power to talk to you on Christmas Eve. That’s just an old legend, of course. But the reason it isn’t true probably isn’t what you expect.

Your dogs won’t start talking to you on Christmas Eve because they’re already doing it right now, and they always have been. The trick isn’t getting the animals to talk. It’s for us to learn how to listen.

You’ve probably heard me say that animals communicate with energy, and it’s a conversation that they have during their every waking moment. Now, what do I mean when I say “energy?” The very short version is that energy is the impression you make upon the world.

In other fields, like science, “energy” has its own different and specific definition, so if you prefer, you can call it personality, temperament, or disposition. Just use a word that makes sense to you or that you’re comfortable with. Now what determines an animal’s energy? The combination of that animal’s intentions and emotions: Intention × Emotion = Energy.

Let’s look at how emotions can completely change how intentions appear. Imagine that you’re in a room with a group of people and you suddenly decide to leave. Leaving the room is your intention. If you just walk out, it could seem completely neutral.

But now imagine the same intention with two different emotions. In one case, you leave the room because you see that your significant other has just arrived after you haven’t seen them for a week. In the other case, something you ate has disagreed with you, and you know you’re about to be sick to your stomach, so you need to leave and find a restroom right now.

You won’t be leaving the room the same way in the first scenario as the second, obviously.

Now imagine a dog that wants to leave a room. If the dog does it because their human just walked into the other room it’s going to look a lot different than if the dog does it because someone just took out the vacuum cleaner, which terrifies the dog.

The great thing about dogs is that their intentions and emotions are a lot simpler than ours, so they are a lot easier to read. In the case of people, our intentions can be very complicated — just throw a reason that it would be very socially awkward to race out of the room into the human scenarios above to see that. For dogs, these social constructs don’t matter. A dog isn’t going to stay in the room when it doesn’t want to be there just to be “polite.”

A dog won’t lie, but she also never intends to hurt a human’s feelings. In that way, a dog is totally honest, so that once you learn to read their energy, you can understand exactly what they’re saying to you. This is why I like to say that humans will tell you a story, while dogs tell you the truth.

For thousands of years, humans have told the story about animals being able to talk on Christmas Eve, while animals have shown us the truth, which is even more amazing. They’ve always been able to talk. We’re the ones who have to learn how to apprehend the miracle of this conversation they’re having with us every moment of every day.

Stay calm, and listen to your dog!

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