I can talk to the animals and I do. One thing that I have always stressed in working with people and their dogs is communication. Communication in the form of dog language and human language which are entirely different. Dogs communicate mostly with body language and the occassional noise. We humans use our body and words to communicate but we rely more so on the words that we speak. For this reason it is important to teach our dogs as many words as we can, that way when you are rambling away to your dog it is not done in vain.
I talk to my dogs all day long and I love teaching them new words. All of my dogs are very intuned with listening for the important words, the words they understand and have relevance in their lives like hungry, car, walk or cookie. Not only do I talk to my dogs I ask them questions which I know they will not answer by speaking but they do in their actions. When I ask a question like Luke, do you want to go outside? What Luke understands is first I used his name which means something has to do with him, next the phrase "do you want to" which always means something good is coming and "outside" he understands as a destination.
My poodles are more sensitive to the human language than my Jack Russell, that is unless you are talking about food. Then Jessie is on your lap staring into your face listening very intently. When you speak to your dogs they do their very best to get what you are saying, this is evident in the head turning. You will get alot more head turning if you speak jibberish to them and they don't get any of it. Many people think that talking to dogs is really strange and do not indulge in this behavior with their own dog. Those people missing out on a deep connection and the ability for two different species to communicate with one another.
Listening is a very important quality in dogs and one that requires teaching and repetition. You can tell when a dog has a guardian who speaks and communicates with them and when they do not by their reaction to being spoken to. It is an extremely useful tool when you need attention from your dogs. Say for example my dogs see someone out the front window and start their barking frenzy, instead of just yelling at them I will call out one name and ask them what they are doing? That dog will come to me to hear what I have to say, and usually it is to please be quiet and go lay down which is what they do.
As important as it is for us to teach our dogs to listen and understand our language we do the same. I don't know how many times people tell me they don't know what their dog is doing or wants. You have to know your dog and know them very personally to know what they want, like I said they use body language so if you are not accustom to watching your dog you are not going to know when something different is being said.
For example, my son and I are watching television and Tilley is standing staring at him, he occasionally glances her way with a puzzled look. "Mom, why is Tilley staring at me? She wants you to let her outside." So as soon as he gets up off the couch Tilley is out infront running to the door. Staring is a typical behavior of Tilley's so how did I know that she was not just staring in adoration like normal? She was not displaying the normal behavior that goes with adoring her people, there was no touching, leaning of her head or pushing of her body; she had something to say and was attempting to mind meld it into my sons head.
Luke communicates alot, he has alot to tell me about his daily life. If I am on the computer and completely involved with what I am doing he will often come in and gives me a poke or just stare. I ask him "what's up," and he will often take me to where the issue is. More so than not it is a problem with sleeping arrangements, probably someone put a bone on his bed and we all know he cannot lay down on bed if there is a bone on it. Or I will walk into a room to find him head down in a frozen point. He is screaming out "there is a spider in the kitchen" with his body language but if I wasn't watching I could walk right by and never hear about the spider. Oh, Luke is a spider hunter but more about that later.
So with our differences in language we can still communicate, that is if we pay very close attention to what our canines are saying to us.