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Therapy and the Human-Dog Bond

How to Whisper and Listen to Your Dog Part 3



The path to understanding your dog lies in large part in noticing the little things that most people miss.

The fictional and famous Victorian detective Sherlock Holmes loved to talk about his methods. And he loved to chastise his friend Watson for seeing but not observing and for hearing but not listening.

The road to becoming your dog’s best friend and confidant lies in part in seeing and observing, in hearing and listening.

What can you observe that you may have missed?

Start off by noticing where your dog like to be when not active.

What is your dog’s preference for personal space? Some dogs like to be close but not too close to their people, say a couple of inches or a foot away. These dogs like to approach, receive their petting and praise and then retire to a favorite spot. Other dogs want to be right on top of you all the time, or at least all the time when they aren’t eating or chasing squirrels.

Speaking of squirrels, notice what gets your dog super excited and happy. For many dogs, it’s a walk, especially a walk. For others, mostly retrievers of various kinds, nothing is as much fun as chasing a ball.

Many dogs love learning to do new things, especially if school time involves lots of praise and treats.

• Some preferences are influenced by your dog’s breed. Labs love the water; Golden Retrievers live to chase balls; Terriers like to dig. Other preferences are a matter of personality and personal preference. Sasha, for example, seeks out warm and sunny spots, much like a cat.

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