Oh those flailing arms

When I watch owners, trainers and dog walkers alike I am always surprised by the amount of arm waving.  Motioning here and there with those propeller like arms.  So much arm movement when all that it needed is a single tiny movement.  Dogs are amazing watchers of body language; they signal to each other constantly.  So many minute signals are given to each other that we often miss them completely.  So why on earth would we need to make all these huge flapping gestures.

I think the coolest thing to watch are those who have such an amazing connection with their dog that you almost cannot see it.  Have you ever seen one of those trick type shows where it looks like the trainer has nothing to do with what the dog is doing?  Watch closely and long enough and you will spot the secret signals that are being given.  They are so small that it takes our very poorly trained human eye a long time to discern them.

The big picture, we are always told to stand back and look at the big picture.  But what about the small ones; the signals and communications that you miss trying to see the big one.  I have stood watching dogs play with a handful of dog owners and been amazed by all the wrong assessments of a situation.  One dog will growl (a big picture item) and the owners jump to the conclusion that the growler is cranky.  But the reader who has made this determination has missed all the micro communications before the big one, the growl.

The only time that dogs talk "BIG" is when their regular, small and fleeting communications have failed.  So when we talk with huge waving arms to start off with we have no where to go from there.  We are already at the place where big messages come from so then we typically hit the yelling stage.  Speak softly and signal small; that is the big secret to really connecting.  Watch for tiny signal, body movements and communications.

Having an amazing communicative connection with your dog does not require a loud voice and waving arms.  A slight movement can speak volumes to dogs; and that is without a vocal sound at all.  Dogs learn signals much quicker and before they learn words; it is after all how they communicate best.  Clean, clear and concise small signals work wonders.  Stop flailing, the more movement you deliver in a message the more work a dog has to do to try to understand it.  When a dog becomes confused by a message it is probably because of our delivery.

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