4 Ways Dogs Communicate with Us!


Have you ever wished you could have a conversation with your fur kid/s???  I know I do, I mean I do talk to Billy all the time but I find he just doesn’t answer with language I understand too well!!

According to Cesar Milan (in his book Cesar’s Way) this is where we humans go wrong, we are trying to humanise our dogs too much and by doing this we’re saying, ‘We’ll love you the way we would love a human’!!




Dog’s navigate the world completely different to the way we do, not better or worse just differently, by understanding this we are on our way to effective communication with them.

In order to do this however,  we have to acknowledge  a few things about them and learn the language they do speak!




Cesar stresses (& knows we hate to hear this) that we are to acknowledge our dogs in this way and in this order –


  • as an animal; first
  • then as a dog;
  • then as their breed;
  • and lastly by their name.


Cesar isn’t saying we can’t love our dogs for who they are, but it’s important for us to recognise  the animal and species in them first. If we want animals to live with us we have the responsibility of  fulfilling the natural animal needs in our dogs.

Basically science has found that dogs descend from wolves and history shows they are used to running and working in a pack, with a pack mentality and by bringing dogs into our homes we take that away from them.

Also, by bringing them into our homes we’re bringing them into the human pack and our dogs need to know where they are in that hierarchy and what’s required of them.

Cesar also wants us to know that life is very simple for our dogs and that they live in the moment.  They don’t add a million emotions to something they just react.  e.g.: they don’t go out and plan an attack on someone or another dog, they react in the moment, they are creatures of cause and effect.

As animals dogs communicate with us as they would their animal pack, we become their pack when we bring them into our homes.

Just take a moment now to let this sink in, YES we can still love our fur kid/s but we have to acknowledge that they are animals and have animal needs.



There are so many different definitions of energy it drove my energy crazy.

In this instance Cesar defines energy for us, he says energy is who we are and what we are doing at any given moment – this is how our dog’s see us!!! That simple!!

People communicate with energy too, it’s a universal language, so this should help us even further when reading our dog’s energy.

For humans Cesar says energy is what we get when our intentions meet our emotions.

ENERGY = Intention x Emotion

Dog’s apparently pay less attention to our words because they are really focussed on our energy, which is expressed through our intention and emotions (through our tone of voice).  EG – a loud barking dog won’t stop barking because you yell even more loudly at it to stop, it thinks you’re joining in.

Dogs are drawn to calm energy, if you stay calm and assertive you will be able to communicate with your dog much more clearly through your energy.

Cesar explains that dogs can sense the most subtle changes in the energy and emotions of the humans around them (aka their human pack).  NOTE – ENERGY DOES NOT AND CANNOT LIE.

For Example – animals in the wild can immediately recognise when a predator is projecting hunting energy, your dog at the dog park can recognise when another enters and whether it’s fearful, dominant etc.

Even humans can tell when someone gives off a bad or good ‘vibe’, this is picking up on someone’s energy, we just need to transfer this to our dogs.

I remember grooming a particularly highly anxious dog and while grooming her I was chatting to the owner who also said nearly all the members in the family were highly anxious.

Another time I was grooming a highly energetic staffy that couldn’t seem to find it’s off switch, however the owner was projecting the same type of energy.  When she left the Salon, the dog started to calm down and started tuning into my energy and by the end of her groom session she was sitting calming in my lap while I brushed her.  As soon as her owner (pack leader) came back, she went back to high energy again.

What type of energy are you and your family projecting on to your fur kid/s?



NOTE- body language is also a function of energy we all project, energy and body language are inter-connected.

It’s the energy of the body language that creates the context, according to Cesar.

EG – A dog with his ears back – could mean calm submission or he’s afraid.

A dog mounting another dog – could mean dominance or play behaviour.

WE can learn to interpret our dog’s body language through the visual clues they give us, but it’s important to acknowledge that different energy can determine the context of a posture, as exampled above. (more on this in future posts)

Humans do this too, have you ever asked someone ‘How are you’? and they say, ‘I’m Fine’, but you can tell by their body language that they are clearly not fine?

This is what dog’s do, they cut through the BS and read us for who we are and what energy we are projecting, because remember ENERGY DOES NOT LIE!!

Dogs are like special lie detectors!!!


NOTE – energy and scent are deeply connected as well when it comes to our dogs.

Cesar explains that humans have to SEE something before they believe it, well dogs have to SMELL something before they can believe it.  If dogs can’t smell it they can’t understand it!

For dogs their primary sense organ is their nose, when you think about it, it takes 1 week after they are born before their eyes open, in order to find their mother and pack mates they use their sense of smell.

A bit of Trivia –

HUMANS = 5 million receptors in our nose

DOGS = 220 million receptors in their noses.

This basically means that dogs have the ability to sniff out smells we can’t even pick up with sophisticated scientific equipment!!!

I always say to my customers when we get a whiff of someone cooking breakfast/lunch/dinner, that their dogs can tell them exactly what is being cooked right down to the spices and they could tell them what meals had previously been cooked on that stove/grill/bbq!!!!

I also notice that inside and outside the Grooming Salon the dogs all mark the same spots.  I call the shrubs under my letter box the Internet Cafe for WeeMail because without a doubt they all stop to smell and mark there.  Inside the Salon it’s the same, no matter how much I clean and spray and deodorise, the dogs all pee in the same spots, it’s marking (sending their information for other dogs to sniff).

Also when dogs meet and greet they sniff bums (people are grossed out by this) but it’s their form of getting each other’s scent and gaining information about that dog.  It’s the equivalent of our hand shake.  Dogs also tend to sniff our crotches for the same thing, to get our scent and to read our energy.

Cesar also mentions a French study that concluded that dogs may actually also use their sense of smell to help distinguish between human emotions i.e. sad, happy, scared (not the reasons for the emotion though).

Studies have shown also that dogs can sniff out cancer in people as well!!




We need to acknowledge that our dogs are animals and have animal requirements that need to be met (they can still enjoy their creature comforts).

AND our dogs ARE TALKING TO US, all the time, (and listening to us when calm and assertive energy is projected), THROUGH ENERGY (smell) & BODY LANGUAGE .


I think dogs get us so much more than we get them, so it’s important to acknowledge all this in order to understand and communicate with them more effectively.


We hope this helps you with understanding and communicating with your fur kid’s more effectively.

We’d love to hear from you on how you communicate with your fur kid/s.  Drop us a line.



J & B

Woofalicious Tales


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