Poker Face; My Dog Doesn’t Have One
Thanks Dog Vacay for the Photo
Who is singing the Lady Gaga “Poker Face” song in your head right now??
If you are not, that’s okay, don’t google it or you will be 😉
I’m a little surprise and proud of myself that at my age I can even make this comparison… I blame my niece.
Anyway, it’s true; my dog doesn’t have a poker face.
And, lucky for us most dogs don’t!
Most of the time I can tell what all of my dogs are thinking at any given time.
Some of that is because I know them and spend so much time around them.
Another reason I am good at it is because it is my job to read dog body language, but I really don’t think it is that hard if you know your dog!
The Thing is, Dogs are Simple
Dogs are simple, I know I have said this before and I say it again dogs are simple “people” for more on that article click here.
I like dogs for that reason, because for the most part they aren’t scheming and when they are you can usually see the telltale signs on their faces!
I know when my dogs want outside, I know when they want a treat, I know when they are hungry, I know when they are thinking about chasing the cat or when they are about to bark.
If you watch them you can tell pretty quickly what they are thinking.
So Why Is Not Having a Poker Face Such a Good Thing?
Because if I use this information to my benefit; I can correct my dog’s thinking BEFORE he is naughty.
If he stops and stares at the cat; chances are he is thinking about chasing or scaring the cat.
If he stops and stiffens at the window; chances are he is about to bark out the window.
If he is sniffing my husband’s underwear (that he always seems to leave on the floor for me) chances are he is thinking about doing something I don’t want to think about to them 😉
So Can You Correct a Dog for What He is Thinking?
Some people think you have to wait until the dog chases the cat, barks out the window, or tries to eat the underwear before you can correct the behavior.
You can’t simply correct a dog for what he is thinking; can you?
Sure you can!!
I’m not talking about hitting, screaming, or any kind of leash pops (that is not really how I train as you might know).
I am talking about telling him “Leave It” and changing his mind before he makes a mistake.
For more on what I mean by “Leave It” and how to teach this skill to your dog; click here “A Skill That Could Save Your Dog’s Life; Leave It”
So often people want to wait for bad behavior to show up before they take action; I am a firm believer that keeping it from happening is the better choice!
I want my dogs to make appropriate choices not mistakes, and I can usually see when they are about to make a mistake.
Sure life is about making and learning from your mistakes but it is more simple for all of us if we can lessen the bad and improve the good.
I, personally, would rather foster the good and keep my dog from forming bad habits.
After all bad habits are hard to break! Ever tried to break one?
It’s simple; pay attention to your dog.
Watch what your dog is doing, what he is watching, learn his body language right before he gets into trouble.
He isn’t always thinking about bad things, but by watching him you can tell what is going on in that tiny brain.
I can always tell when my dog thinks she has done something good enough that she deserves a treat.
She runs into the kitchen and looks up toward the top of the refrigerator.
We keep the treats on the fridge!
She will stare from my gaze to the fridge and back as if I am a slow learner.
I know exactly what she wants.
Sometimes I indulge her and other times I let her think I am stupid, ha ha.
So study your dog; and stop that naughty thinking before it morphs into naughty behavior!
What do you think?
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.