Archives for Dogs Express Emotion category

What’s On Your Dog’s Bucket List?

Posted on Aug 14, 2015
Dog Psychology, Dog's Bucket List, Dogs Express Emotion, Learn From A Dog, Uncategorized, Yorkie
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Recently, videos of people and their dogs fulfilling the dog’s bucket list are making the rounds on social media.  It made me think of my own dogs and, in particular, my senior Yorkie, Melody.  When I got her, her age was estimated to be between 10-13.  (She’s been 13 for five years!)  Regardless, I am aware she does things now that reflect her age (let’s call them senior moments).

A recent scare brought to mind the idea of a bucket list.  What would her bucket list be?  I thought of all the things that make her act excited and silly. The answer was simple – being with me.  I took her on a camping trip and with the cooler temperatures, beautiful trees, and even with squirrels everywhere, she only wanted to be with me.

I’m absolutely certain our dogs express joy and happiness; just as they also express fear and anxiety.  I know from my dogs that while they love going for walks, playing with toys, chasing lizards (or cats) – I’m at the other end of the leash, I’m the giver of the toys, and while Zoe would prove me wrong for a brief moment of time, they prefer me over chasing anything.

The bucket list?  That’s for us.  That’s us going for one last run or walk, one last toy toss, sharing that burger we never wanted them to have.  It’s all for us.  They don’t have an I’m-not-ready-to-go-yet list of things to accomplish.  They live in the moment.  The moment.  With us.

Thankful Thursday – For Our Imperfect Dogs (Kids or Mate)

Posted on Aug 04, 2011
Dog Training, Dogs and Instinct, Dogs Express Emotion, Thankful Thursday
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One thing I know for sure is that in order for me to be thankful for things I consider to be less worthy of gratitude, I have to start with those things I am truly thankful for – my home, my bed – you get the idea. Real gratitude somehow overflows and wraps itself around those things for which we are not quite thankful. For some, our dogs are on the top of the list. For others, perhaps with a puppy or with a dog that is difficult, gratitude is not an automatic. (Feel free to insert your kids, work, and/or mate!)

I have decreased my writing about training techniques because the market is flooded with information on how to have a well behaved dog. It’s always described as quick and easy! Yet, our dogs still pull on the leash, still bolt when they see a squirrel or cat running away from them, still bark at the mailman and still attempt to jump on people when greeting. I don’t know about your dog(s), but mine haven’t read one word from the books and are quite content being dogs and letting me figure out how to work with them.

So. . .what about (seemingly) misbehaving dogs brings me gratitude – they aren’t perfect and we don’t have to be either. They are forever two years old and need to be asked and reminded of those quick and easy dog training steps we just knew would fix them. I’m grateful that in the midst of our frustration with some of their behavior, they don’t just turn around and bite us for asking them to sit when their prey drive or zest for affection is declaring, “get rabbit – NOW” or “that human wants to pet me I just know it, I know it, I do, I do!

Wordless Wednesday

Posted on May 25, 2011
Adopt a Shelter Dog, Dog Humor, Dogs Express Emotion, Uncategorized
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Do Dogs Really Love Us?

Posted on Jan 15, 2011
Dog Humor, Dog Psychology, Dogs and Instinct, Dogs Express Emotion
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Isn’t it just the best feeling to arrive home after a long day at work, a few minutes taking the trash out, or a few seconds to get the mail, and our dogs are all over us with enthusiasm and greetings of, “welcome home, we’ve missed you!”

Does it mean they love us or is there an ulterior motive? It’s probably better to just appreciate and adore them because we may not want to know the truth. The other day when I came in the door, I distinctly heard them excitedly saying, “our food source is home, our food source is home!”

I love them regardless of what they feel or don’t feel. I think there are certain truths we understand about dogs and the rest we make up as we go along. Considering the joy they bring to our lives, does it really matter – I didn’t think so.

Do Dogs Have Feelings?

Posted on Apr 08, 2010
Behavioral Modification, Dog Psychology, Dog Training, Dogs Express Emotion, Labradoodle
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The subject of dogs and what it is they feel will forever be a topic of interest to us dog advocates. I don’t think I would treat them any differently if I were to find out they had no “feelings” in the sense that we humans do.

A feeling can be like the weather in Seattle. If you don’t like it, wait an hour and it will be different! This is certainly true if our feelings are based on emotion alone. Living with humans, dogs are exposed to our fickle behaviors and moods whether or not they understand or join us in them.

I know when I have asked a client to confine (crate or kennel or keep a leash on their dog) they wonder if it will hurt their dog’s feelings. On behalf of all the dogs I love, NO! We don’t worry about hurting an infant’s feelings if we don’t let them run free and out of our sight before they are trustworthy.

I do believe dogs have feelings, and the rest is my life study.  For instance, I came home from a training session to find that my dogs were frantically going through the phone book looking for a florist so they could send me flowers for my upcoming birthday. You can see their disappointment in my walking in on the surprise. I’d say they have feelings…

I think Melody needs glasses!

Dogs Being Silly

Posted on Jan 20, 2010
Behavioral Modification, Dog Humor, Dog Psychology, Dog Smile, Dogs Express Emotion
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Are your dogs ever silly?  I don’t know what the term would be in dog world, but in human language, it is best described as silly!

I have written previously about Melody, a tiny Yorkie with a horrible past.  If she never exuded a moment of happiness or silliness, it would be understandable.  She, however, is beyond animated when she sees me approach or is ready for a meal.

She crab crawls, wiggles, spins, rolls and turns in excitement.  She reminds me that regardless of how someone appears or what their past experiences have been, inside there may be a little silly waiting to express itself.

We expect puppies to be silly and on some days look forward to when they grow up.  Melody, on the other hand, is far from being puppy age and is getting her silly on later in life.  She shows us that it’s ok.  I think I’ll join her.

Dogs Expressing Emotion

Posted on Dec 15, 2009
Behavioral Modification, Dog Humor, Dog Psychology, Dog Smile, Dog Training, Dogs and Cognitive Learning, Dogs Express Emotion
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It is fascinating to read the studies on the analysis of dogs and their expression of emotion.  We, of course, refer to emotion in the sense that we experience it.  Dogs; however, live in the moment so their emotion may be more raw than ours.  I don’t think they are capable of deceiving us by expressing an emotion they aren’t really feeling at the moment.   They don’t pretend as well as we do!

There are fun photographs of dogs smiling.  And they do!  Some more than others, but it still qualifies as a smile.  I also have seen more than my share of grumpy-doggy face.  The “it’s you again” look on some dogs when I (the trainer) show up for another training session can be very comical – for us humans more so than the dog.

With the cooler temperatures, the dogs seem quite content to cuddle on their beds a little longer than normal.  And, some days, I think they get up on the wrong side of their cedar-chipped, double-organic-fiber-stuffed, memory foam dog beds!  Perhaps they have bad dreams and restless nights too; so, I will cut them some slack.

Regardless, I think it’s fun to notice that much like a little child, a dog’s expression of “emotion” shifts in a nano-second.  In a flash, they go from grump-dog to tail-waggin’-ready-for-a-walk dog.  I wish it were that easy for us two-leggers!  Once again, we learn from our dogs how blessed it is to live in the moment.