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.

Thanks Glitter Groomer for the Photo

Thanks Glitter Groomer for the Photo

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?

Pay Attention

Thanks for the photo

Thanks for the photo

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.

For Instance

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?

Start Calming Down Your Over Excited Dogs Today!

Your First Lesson’s FREE:

Sign up below and we’ll email you your first “Training For Calm” lesson to your inbox in the next 5 minutes.


  1. Joe says:

    As soon as I see George’s nose go up into the air I know that there is either another dog or a person coming but by the time I say Noooooo! he is off like a shot to the gate barking & leaping around. It takes some time for him to calm down enough to listen to me so although I do quite often spot the trouble my atempts to avert it fall on deaf ears 🙁


    Minette Reply:

    Use a leash!


    Joe Reply:

    Surely I can’t keep him on the leash all day though???


    Minette Reply:

    Why couldn’t you? Leashes help us control dogs and teach behaviors and being off leash is a privilege not something that is a given at my house.

    If it only happens when you are outside in the yard; keep him on a leash when he goes outside.

    You cannot teach him if he is off in a frenzy running and barking right?

    And, he needs to be “taught” how to respond as he is showing you his current behavior is not what you want…

    So use the leash to teach him that is not appropriate and show him what behavior you want to see.

    Minette Reply:

    Read this

  2. joe says:

    Thanks minette 🙂 dogs here in turkey are kept outside most of the time but we always bring george in at night. I thought that putting him on a line or a leash was not fair so I normally let him run round the garden free but he is then a problem. I put him on the line as a punishment when he has misbehaved but let him back off soon after. It sounds like I should be keeping him closer to me & not worrying about his freedom until he has learned to behave. It makes a lot of sense but not having a dog before I just thought he would be so unhappy if I kept him on a leash all the time. Thanks for your help & sorry to be so useless at this dog thing 🙂


    Minette Reply:

    Like everything else it is a learning process! You’ll both get it!!


  3. j says:

    Hi Minette, I have a 5 year old female collie who can get overexcited around toys and action. When I have the ball, she is generally quiet, but if it is being thrown for another dog, she will bark and bark and want to play.
    If I am putting her through her obstacle course I made, she barks excitedly. She never nips me or jumps up and she always obeys commands with alacrity (down, sit, etc.) but she still barks. What do you think I should do? Nothing I have tried works.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *