Do you ever feel like your dog really knows you — perhaps even better than some of your human family members?
You may be surprised by how right you are. In some ways, dogs have an advantage over humans in this regard. Humans can be misled by what we say, which sometimes doesn’t reflect what’s really going on in our minds and hearts. We also have our own complex thoughts and emotions distracting us from really paying attention.
Dogs, however, are using more reliable cues to pick up on what we’re really thinking and feeling, and they are often laser-focused on the humans in their lives — especially if they have food!
Some Things Your Dog Knows About You
Yes, your dog can predict the future. He knows what you intend to do. Your body language is usually what gives you away. Let’s look at something simple. You intend to leave the house. Before you go, you get your shoes, put on your coat, and grab your keys. Your dog knows that you intend to leave the house, because he knows these actions usually precipitate your exit.
But here’s the thing: your dog also picks up on much more subtle cues — ones that you probably don’t even know you are giving. For example, you may notice that your dog knows you are about to take him for a walk before you’ve said a word about or taken any action to make it happen. He may notice a change in body language or your energy that gives it away instead.
Does your dog know when you need a good snuggle after a bad day? Is she ready to celebrate with you after you’ve just achieved a big success? It’s not your imagination. She knows.
How you are feeling is clear as day to your canine family members. Everything about your energy changes. Your tone of voice. The way you hold your body. And even your smell, due to chemical changes related to emotion-regulating hormones.
Your Feelings Toward Others
Is there someone who really rubs you the wrong way but you always maintain a smiling appearance? That person might not know how you feel — but if your dog witnesses the interaction, he is well aware.
Again, the key is your non-verbal communication. Even while you’re saying, “It’s so nice to see you,” your dog will be picking up on the fact that your body language is tense and closed off and your energy is negative. Of course, the opposite is true, too. If you unexpectedly come upon a dear old friend on a walk, your dog will notice that it was a positive surprise, one that led you to have relaxed body language and excited energy.
Your Feelings Towards Her
Are you afraid of your dog’s aggressive behavior? Frustrated by his hyperactive antics? And enamored with his snuggles? Your dog is well aware.
Remember, this is at the core of establishing pack leadership. That frustration or fear will be viewed as unbalance, and it will lead your dog to want to take over that leadership role, not hand it over to you.
And showing your appreciation for the calmer moments — like those snuggles — will reinforce those behaviors in a positive way. So be careful to control your thoughts, your body language, and most importantly your energy when establishing pack leadership.
For many, practicing meditation can make a big difference towards gaining greater control of non-verbal communication — and ensuring that your dog knows what you want him to know about you!
Does your dog seem to be able to read your mind or your mood? Tell us about it in the comments!