Communicating with Dogs


By Honey Good

If you think diamonds are a girl’s best friend, you’ve never owned a dog! The love and affection a dog can provide in your life cannot be measured. Our dog, Orchid, is a family member. She is my writing partner who sits by my side each day as I blog. Now we have left her at home for 18 days because we are traveling! Orchid Good knew we were leaving! Why? Because she understands English and so does your pooch. Did you know your pet, depending on the breed, understands several hundred words!? I was shocked when I learned this and decided I would start observing Orchid’s behavior when I spoke. My message to all dog owners: think twice before you speak once in front of your pooch. They are a lot smarter than you think.

Don’t believe me, I’ll prove it! Every Thursday morning at 7:00am The Dog Bath Truck arrives in front of our condominium for Orchid’s weekly bath. If I mention to Shelly that I am taking Orchid down for her bath, this is the scene: When we get outside Orchid literally pulls me in the opposite direction of where the truck eventually will be waiting for her. She knows the truck will be there. On the other hand if I do not say anything about her bath it does not matter where we walk because Orchid understands.

When we travel without her, two days before departure, she knows we are leaving because she understands our discussions and sees the luggage. I can see she is visibly stressed by her body movements. She doesn’t leave my side and follows me everywhere. When I sit on the couch she does not lay next to me, she places her body into the side of my body, as if to say, “I am not going to let you go.” On the other hand, if we are going to travel with her, I say, “Orchid you are going, you are going!” and I pet and kiss her. She races around the house, happy as can be, wagging her tail.

You can teach your dogs by repeating short sentences and follow it with an action. It is important that everyone in the house uses the same words and phrases. We have taught Orchid the following phrases:

  • “Let’s go outside.” She runs for her leash.
  • “Want a treat?” She comes running.
  • “Up” (means come into our bed or sit with me on the couch).
  • “You are such a good girl” or “I love you sooooo much.” She knows we are expressing our love.
  • “Stay.” She will not move.
  • “Sit.” She sits.
  • “Off.” She moves off whatever or whoever she’s on.
  • “Go say hello.” Wheaton Terriers jump up when they see you. She runs to people.
  • “Take it easy. Walk with me.” She walks by my side.

My husband and I always use the same terms and I believe the consistency is the reason for our success in conversing with Orchid. It is so unfortunate that our dogs cannot talk. Yet, in a sense they do. When Orchid is happy she wags her tail, she jumps on me with joy when I come home. When she is not feeling well, she comes up to me and places her body into me. And when she has to go outside in the middle of the night because she is sick she comes up to my side of our bed and cries to wake me. She even drags me to the water fountain in the park to let me know she is thirsty! I kid you not!

If you have a pet, this blog may enlighten you. If you are thinking of getting a dog for yourself, your children or grandchildren this is a lesson -- communicate with your dog.