For humans, language can be a type of control. We see this all the time in advertising, where words are chosen very carefully to create an effect — making somebody want to buy something. The language of politics is probably the most extreme example, where words are used to steer people’s emotions.

This may make it seem like animals would be impossible to control because they don’t use words. However, they do use their own “language,” and when we learn how to understand and speak this language, then we can control our animals.

The vocabulary of all animal language is energy and the target is instinct, and this is nowhere truer in a species than it is in our dogs.

Understanding and speaking your dog’s language is such an important part of becoming a good Pack Leader and achieving balance and harmony in your relationship that it’s the subject of the newest DVD in my “Essentials of Dog Behavior” series. It’s called The Language of Dogs, and I’m very proud to announce that it’s now available, just in time for the holidays!

Since humans rely on words to communicate, doing it with energy and body language like dogs do doesn’t come to us instinctively. Your dog may be hearing your words, but she’s reading your energy and intention, and if the two don’t match up, what you’re really “saying” won’t make any sense to her.

If your intention is to stop your dog from barking but your energy is excited, for example, your intention will be lost and your dog will just get more excited and probably bark louder. To the dog, you’re saying two different things at once. That would be like speaking English but using Spanish grammar literally: a thing the which them might to give confusion at the listeners.

If that last phrase sounded like gibberish at first, now you know part of what your dog goes through when you don’t communicate with instinct. It’s also important to always remember that humans tell a story while dogs tell the truth. We’ll try to explain why a dog is acting a certain way, wrapping up the reality in words that hide the truth. A dog, through its instincts, will tell you immediately what’s going on. You just have to learn how to listen.

Teaching you all how to do that is my goal with The Language of Dogs. Here’s a sneak peek at one of the cases, where I help Alex and Barret learn how to end the fearful behavior of their rescue dog Lucy.

Stay calm, and learn to speak dog!


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