Dogs have a funny way of communicating with humans. While they, of course, can’t talk to us, they are able to communicate with us in different ways – like tail wagging, barking, and more. Most of the time the communication works, but sometimes it gets lost in translation. So, here are five ways to help you better communicate with your furry friend.

Tone Matters

Since dogs can’t understand every literal word you speak, the tone of your voice makes all the difference. When communicating affection or commands, keep your voice calm and low-pitched, not loud or boisterous. Dogs don’t respond well to harsh or shrill tones, they’ll think something is wrong.

Keep Language Consistent

Dogs will not understand that “stay” and “wait” mean the same thing unless you train them to respond to both commands. So, make sure you keep the words the same when training your pup. Don’t say “stay” then “wait” then “stop” – all that does is confuse the dog even more and they won’t know what to do. Repetition works best!

Use Your Hands

Since human speech is basically background noise for dogs, they may not always pay attention when you want them to do something. After all, they spend the entire day listening to humans talk in a language they do not understand. Hand signals can help in this situation. When training your pup, reinforce the spoken command with a hand signal. Don’t use an intricate one or your dog will get confused and overwhelmed. Try a raised hand for ‘stay’ or a downward hand motion for ‘down’.

Pay Attention to Their Body Language and Facial Expressions

Dogs primarily communicate through body language. Recognizing calming body signals can help you better communicate with your pup. Calming signals, for example, are behavior sets that dogs do to help resolve conflict, make friends, and keep up relationships with other pups and humans. They do these behaviors when they believe a situation needs to be ‘calmed’. They include head turning, lip licking, yawning, and getting lower to the ground

Facial expressions are another way dogs show how they are feeling. Facial expressions are a sort of ‘unspoken’ communication between dogs and humans. Pay attention to their ears, eyes, and mouth. Perked ears in a forward position mean they are focused and interested. Flat ears can mean they are being shy and a neutral position means they are content with what is going on.

Look at the Context

If your pup is behaving strangely, context clues can help you determine what is going on. Look at the surroundings and search for some clues. If they are whining next to a toy, you be confused at first but when you take into account the toy beside them, you’ll quickly figure out they are ready to play!

Use these tips and tricks to help open a better line of communication between you and your pup. If you notice your dog has been restless lately, perhaps they aren’t getting enough exercise time, try adding in a midday walk with a dog walker. Our professional dog walkers will provide your pup with as much as exercise as they need. Need a trip to the park? Not a problem. Just a walk around the block? We can do that, too! Learn more about our dog walking services here.