With a Little Help from My Friends

The Science Dog

There is a large body of research showing that dogs are quite capable of noticing and responding to human communication cues such as body language, tone of voice, and various forms of pointing. Dogs also will initiate eye contact with people and respond to human gaze. We are well matched in this respect because humans, of course, use eye contact to communicate all of the time. Some of the reasons that we actively seek out the gaze of another person may be as a bid for attention, to communicate friendliness or animosity, or to request assistance.  Similarly, many dogs will approach and initiate eye contact with their owner when they are asking for something (a walk, food, petting or a game of fetch) and in some cases, when asking for a bit of help.

Use some help

These apparent requests for assistance are of interest because it seems that this is one of the ways in which dogs differ significantly from wolves. One of the earliest studies of canine social…

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About Dawn Gardner, CPDT-KA

I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, a professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), an administrator of the Modern Dog Group, and a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG). I am also a freelance writer for dog related publications. I have been training dogs since 1997, promoting force-free, science based training methods, instructing group classes and providing private in-home dog training. I have worked extensively with dogs with behavioral issues, including those suffering from anxiety, aggression and other stress related disorders. I have dedicates much of my free time to rehabilitating and re-homing shelter dogs with a variety of rescue organizations. As part of my passion for advocating science based dog training methods, I have had the privilege to lecture at Virginia Tech’s School of Veterinary Medicine. In 2014 I returned to Arkansas after 12 years in rural North Carolina, where Happy Hound Pet Services began in 2007. I live in Rudy, Arkansas, with my nine dogs and occasional foster dogs.
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