20081122091803_Capture_2From an early age we are conditioned to look at, talk to or pet dogs. Our mothers while pushing us in our strollers, would alert us to every dog walking nearby

20081122091803_Capture_2From an early age we are conditioned to look at, talk to or pet dogs.  Our Dads and Moms while pushing us in our strollers, would alert us to every dog walking nearby, saying “there’s a doggie”, “look at the doggie”, what a nice doggie”, “wanna pet the doggie?” These are just some of the things I hear parents say while I’m out training the dogs.  Parents want to teach children what things are, and dogs are the perfect thing for parents to point out, because humans love animals.  So it’s understandable that as adults, many of us are programmed to greet dogs on the street or at least say something to them like: “Oh what a nice doggie” or “Hi, little puppy”, “What an adorable dog”, etc..

In my many years observing people and their reaction when they see a dog, there is never a time when someone would just pet a dog without uttering a sound. When dogs greet other dogs, they don’t use an excited tone or words to greet each other, it’s all non-verbal but very communicative body signals.  Dogs can read our body signals, but when we pet and talk to them excitedly, we’re going to elicit a reaction from them and if it’s a young dog or a dog the owner already has trouble controlling, they may start to nip or jump on you.  The owner then gets embarrassed and of course you tell them “oh, it’s okay- I don’t mind” but the owner is thinking, uh, I do mind!

Think “Dog Whispering”

Every once in a while, especially if you have a very excitable dog or puppy, try to pet them without making a sound. You’ll find it difficult at first; remember you’ve been conditioned as a baby to greet them excitedly.  But still try it. When you pet a dog in a calm manner and without making a sound, you’ll notice a more bonding connection; they will respond to your touch in a much calmer way, usually with their eyes rolling in ecstasy in the back of their head.   Plus you’ll be helping the owners -out there- from feeling embarrassed, and the dog because the owner will take them out a lot more.

Personally when I get a massage, I don’t like when the masseur is chatting away, if they “Don’t speak” I can focus on the reward I so well deserve.


Feel free to comment below.

9 thoughts on “Don’t Speak

  1. Interesting post!

    I wish more people would teach their kids to ask before petting dogs! Many adults and kids seem to think it’s okay to pet a dog without asking. For most dogs, it is.
    But there’s some that don’t want to be petted and some owners who don’t want their dog petted. Asking is just a good courtesy to the dog.


  2. Hi Mary

    You bring up another good point. The picture I used was exactly that situation, the Dad told the kids to ask me first before petting. Probably because Wanda (Boerboel) is a big dog. You’re right though, It doesn’t happen often but parents should teach their kids to ask.

    Thanks for the comment

  3. Hi Barbara,

    Well, I’m not a people trainer.. your on your own on that one. LOL It sounds like your competing for your dogs attention, you’ll just need to find something that can win it back. Then practice, Plus teach him not to jump and a good sit – stay. I like to train dogs that “HI, Puppy Puppy” (in an excited tone), means to Sit

    thanks for the comment

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  6. I just read your article and as Abby was right next to me I gently patted her silently. She gave a a sweet loving look and a little smile! Bingo I love it!! Great advice Robert!

  7. Thanks Sally, It’s also calming for us too isn’t it?. You can really feel the connection with the dog. When I pet dogs I “don’t speak” more than I speak. I think the dogs love it!

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