Archive for the ‘Dog Communication’ Category

How Smart Are Dogs — Really?

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

One of the themes of the “My Doggie Says…” show has been “the intelligence of dogs.”  One guest, for example, was Stanley Coren, author of “The Intelligence of Dogs.”  But I’ve always found these conversations a little unsettling. Here’s the interview with Stanley.

The scientists keep saying, “Dogs really aren’t very smart.”  I wonder, though, if they are applying the right measures.  Obviously, dogs can’t take an IQ test — which deals with language.  But they sure do some clever things.  I have a difficult time believing that Callie Golden Retriever has the same intelligence level (whatever that means) as a two-year-old child.

Well, Brian Hare and Dognition to the rescue.  For the past two weeks, Barbara and I have been spending a few minutes every evening running Callie through a battery of tests developed my Dognition.  Here’s how Dognition describes the tests:

“You begin the Dognition Experience by playing a series of science-based games that will reveal your dog’s unique abilities. This knowledge is the first step in creating an even stronger connection with your dog — a connection that can help you be the best owner you can be for your furry friend.”

So far, we haven’t received any results on Callie’s testing, but the games have been fun, and we’re looking forward to seeing the first results.  Stay tuned!

Glynis McCants on the “My Doggie Says…” Show

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

















Was My Dog Really Smart Enough to Figure that Out?

Friday, November 9th, 2012

If you read this blog, you know that Callie and I have a daily soccer match — at her invitation.  It’s a ritual we’ve followed since Callie was eight weeks old.  So for over five years, we’ve been doing our daily soccer game.  I kick the ball in the air, and Callie “bonks” it off her nose.

You also know that we have our little ups and downs.  Some days, Callie really gets into the game, and other days, she just stares blankly as the ball whistles over her head.  I’m never quite sure what to expect.

You also know that I think dogs are really smart — much smarter than even our scientists give them credit for.  They read our body language better than we read theirs —  most of the time.

You also know that I have all kinds of little tricks for getting Callie into the game.  Sometimes it takes us a while to get started, so I have to encourage her and try to persuade her to start the game.  She’s always enthusiastic when we run outside, but sometimes it takes a few dozen kicks on my part before Callie gets going.

Well, last night, at soccer time, it was raining fairly hard.  My first reaction was to skip soccer for the day.  But Callie kept begging me to play.  Finally, I gave in and opened the door to the back yard.  But I said to Callie, “Look, it’s raining pretty hard; the yard is getting muddy; so we need to get started right away and just play for about five minutes.”

Imagine my surprise when Callie followed my instructions to a tee.  She “bonked” the first kick and worked her golden retriever butt off for five minutes.  Then we did our ceremonial “high five” and got inside out of the rain.

Unbelievable.  What was she responding to?  Was it what I said (really, out loud)?  Did she pick up on my body language somehow?  Whatever it was, it was the first time she’s ever jumped right into the game and then stayed with it for five minutes without interruption.

We were both a little wet when we finished, but it was worth it.

What Is Your Dog Trying to Tell You?

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

The whole point of “My Doggie Says… Messages from Jamie” is that your dog is probably “talking” to you more than you realize and that it is possible to get proficient at interpreting the messages.  “My Doggie Says…” is a collection of eighty-five color photographs that capture different behavioral messages that Jamie is sending.  Sometimes it takes some detective work to decipher what your dog is saying, but it’s worth it.  As you get better at understanding “dog,” your relationship with your pet will improve noticeably.

Here’s an interesting article, by Nadine Steele, that describes  a whole host of messages your dog might be sending you if it feels some kind of frustration or tension.  Dogs have a lot of “code” for different kinds of tension that they feel.  Nadine’s article does a great job of identifying the important ones.

Thinking About Renting a Dog? Check with Barley, Labrador Retriever and Rent-A-Dog: Podcast

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Can you imagine being a dog with more than one home to go to every week?  Well,  I interviewed Barley, a Labrador Retriever and Rent-A-Dog, to find out what it’s like for him.  Here’s a short sample from Barley.

And here’s the full interview:

What is #dogbonding?

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Some of my Twitter and F/B followers have seen a few conversations about #dogbonding.  What is #dogbonding?  What does it mean?

A lot of the authors and dog trainers I have interviewed on the “My Doggie Says…” show share a view that I have about dog ownership and dog training.  Specifically, that the real joy of “owning” a dog is in building a very close, warm, communicative, and interactive relationship with it.  I put “owning” in parentheses, because the whole idea of “owning” a dog is actually the antithesis of #dogbonding.  The ideal dog-human relationship is not one of “ownership.”  It’s one of “intimate relationship.”

#dogbonding is very different from some traditional dog training, in which the emphasis is on “obedience.”  Again, there’s more to being in a great relationship with a dog than compelling it to obey your commands.  This is where #dogbonding and some of the popular TV dog trainers depart.

One premise of many of the popularized TV dog trainers is that we need to be in an “alpha” relationship with our “best friend.”  Many studies have shown that this is not true, and many leading edge dog trainers are putting more emphasis on “positive training” and on creating a positive relationship with your pet.

An essential ingredient of any relationship is “communication.”  The point of the book, “My Doggie Says… Messages from Jamie,” is that it is possible to develop your skills at “interpreting” your pet’s behavioral messages.  Does your dog ever do something you don’t quite understand?  I call these “scratch-your-head” moments.  You scratch your head and try to figure out, “Why did my dog do that?  What is it trying to tell me?”  Through a collection of eighty-five color photographs, “My Doggie Says…” gives examples of behaviors, what they meant in the case of Jamie, and how I was able — with some detective work — to “decode” Jamie’s messages.

Join us on Twitter at @mydoggiesays and contribute to the #dogbonding conversation.  What does it mean to you?

Participate in a Live Podcast with Animal Communicator and Professional Psychic, Lori Spagna

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

On Tuesday, June 19th, 2012, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, the “My Doggie Says…” show will record a live podcast with animal communicator, professional psychic, intuitive energy healer, and behavior expert Lori Spagna. Lori will discuss how animals are teaching us. She will also do live readings with guests who participate in the show. To learn more about Lori and her great work, visit, or

The “My Doggie Says…” show is a lighthearted show about dogs — dog relationships, dog communication, dog training and generally “dog appreciation.” Host Fred Haney interviews experts on all subjects “dog.” To listen to past shows, check out the “podcast” tab on this blog, or look for “mydoggiesays” on the iTunes podcast store.

To join the program, send an email to Lori Spagna at or to Fred Haney at You will receive the dial-in instructions and access code by return email.

A Dog’s Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Five Ways to Figure Out What Your Dog Is Telling You

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Does your dog ever do something that leaves you scratching your head and wondering, “Why did he (or she) do that?” If so, you’re not alone. Dogs tell us important things all the time, but sometimes we don’t “get the message.”

Dogs communicate in different ways and at different levels. Sometimes they “talk” with their tails, or their ears, or their posture. Sometimes they “talk” by barking, or yelping, or whining. Sometimes they use subtle signals that were used in wolf packs to “keep the peace.” These messages can include licking their own lips or yawning.

But dogs frequently communicate with their behavior. A dog’s actions speak louder than words. The trick is to figure out what the actions means. It can be obvious. For example, when your dog sits and begs while you’re eating a piece of steak, there’s no mystery in the message. But many messages are much more subtle than that. Here are some ways you can try to “break the code” and understand what your dog is telling you.

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A Lesson You Can Learn from your Dog

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Here’s one of life’s important lessons that you can learn from your dog:  How to appreciate little things.

This is one of my favorite sound bytes from the “My Doggie Says…” show.  In it, Dean Koontz, the famous author, describes how, at one time in his life, his Golden Retriever, Trixie, helped him see the world in a completely different and wondrous way.  In Dean’s words, Trixie “made the familiar fresh again.”  She helped him see “great beauty in mundane scenes.”  He goes on to say, “Trixie reawakened in me an awareness of the mystery that’s woven into the warp and weft of everything we perceive…”

I really love this clip (2:28).  It’s one of the best examples of the spiritual connection that can exist between a human and a dog.  A great example of a lesson you can learn from a dog.

Learning About Dog Communication from Sharon Loy, Animal Communicator

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Here are Sharon Loy’s words about how improved dog communication can lead to a much richer relationship with your pet:

“Like most animal lovers, I have always had a trusting and intuitive connection with animals. But I did not always understand the full extent of what their companionship offers.”

In this short clip (4:48), Sharon talks about how anyone can learn to become a telepathic animal communicator:

Listen to the entire podcast, in which Sharon talks about what it means to have telepathic abilities, how language and intuition can foster dog communication and the role of right brain and left brain thinking in dog communication.  Sharon also gives some fascinating examples of how her telepathic skills helped solve some very complicated dog behavior problems.