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I’m not a dog whisperer

In a past life, I had a very different career. I worked with adults with autism, learning disabilities and sensory differences in a range of settings, and I loved it. As a Positive Behaviour Support practitioner, communication was my passion - I loved finding diverse ways to ‘speak’ to people and bond with them.

I’ve brought so much of that learning and experience to my work with dogs and their people. Communication is still my biggest passion, and I believe it’s the key to strengthening our relationships with our canine companions. One concept I particularly loved in my last role was INTENSIVE INTERACTION - an approach based on the way we observe and respond to the actions and noises of babies, and interpret these as communication. It’s about watching closely how someone responds to different situations through their body language, voice and facial expressions and responding to this. It’s all about two-way, co-operative communication, and I think it has so much to teach us in terms of how we relate to our dogs too.

We sometimes use intensive interaction unconsciously - think of the noises we make or the faces we pull when we speak to a baby. It wouldn’t be much use sitting a baby down and trying to have a sensible conversation with them, would it? It’s the same with our dogs - we need to communicate on THEIR level, not ours. Mirroring is a great way we can start to do this - watching their movements and trying to move with them fluidly instead of against them. Even something simple like copying a contented sigh to mirror calmness, or using matching body language during play, can help your dog to relate to you more strongly and strengthen your bond. It’s a magical feeling when you make that breakthrough and things ‘click’ into place, there’s nothing quite like it.

There’s no such thing as a ‘dog whisperer’, but some people do find it easier to communicate naturally with dogs than others. If you need a bit of extra help with your communication, let me know, I’d love to help ❤️

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