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Body Language Translation

Translate dog body language- what’s your dog saying?

As you can see, most of their specific gestures are expressions of emotions like joy, playfulness and relief. They’re clear and  understandable movements that other dogs will recognise.

Because they “run” on body language, they understand hand signals very easily. Using subtle hand movements looks super slick! Do remember to work on spoken words, too. t’s very easy to slip into a habit of relying on the hand signals without  checking they remember the words- until your hands are full and the dogs are confused. It’s so cool that they’re (essentially) bilingual and can understand both spoken words and gestures.

Even though they can’t speak as we do, they still understand words very well. Science tells us they can understand at around the same level as a 5 or 6 year old. They’re able to learn and remember the names of 1500 to 2,000 different names of items. From this we know they can work things out by a process of elimination, or inferential reasoning, as the academics call it. “If it’s not A or B, then it must be C” sort of logic.

Bunny “the talking dog” communicates by pressing buttons that each say a different word. Bunny fully understands each button and can communicate her wishes beautifully clearly, saying things like “concern, stranger, paw” when she had a thorn in her foot. She is capable of comprehending some quite advanced things, using words like “yesterday, today and tomorrow ” appropriately and correctly. The questions she thinks of are the best! “Where daddy poo?” still makes me chuckle.

Infographics that translate dog body language from Sue’s book- available here