I think I mentioned a time or two before that my daughter has a mental health therapy dog who is very productive for folks who are depressed or suffering from stress. However, she’s also a very bright and adaptive little gal and she’s figured out that I participate in Dog Talk, also known as Speaking Dog. Her Mom hasn’t really seen us in action before and was flabbergasted when she saw “Baby Dog” (my pet name for her) and me Dog Talking.
When I came in the door I instantly knew Baby Dog needed out. Her Mom said she’d never seen her that totally focused on anyone. Not long after Baby Dog started talking to me by first lying in front of me to catch my eye, staring at me, and then, when I acknowledged her, doing a very energetic dance to let me know she had to go out NOW. She’s never done that with her Mom or anyone else. Just me. Why? It’s Dog Talk. Dogs talk with bodies – they’re largely visual communicators, although they pant, leave scent trails, whine, bark, and make other noises. Baby Dog (aka ‘Kinley) knows I can’t hear her half the time, but I’m the visual one in the house.
Need food? Walk to Grandma, walk to the dish (which can be out of my sight in another room) repeat until the old lady gets up to see what the message is (anyone remember Lassie doing this?). Water – ditto. Go out – catch the eye and do a dance – the level of desperation in the dance tells me whether to run for the door or wait for the leash. She also does a more energetic dance if I need to take the dog poo bag. And Baby Dog can do no wrong so it a very positive feedback environment for her.
Her Mom was highly entertained and wondered why only I get this very focused and full body communication treatment. Because only *I* pay attention to her in an almost totally visual way. Her Mom wishes
Baby Dog ‘Kinley would communicate with her as well when she needs to go out.
In addition, she lets me know when someone is at the door with a bounce off my leg (at her weight a little dog bounce is no problem) and, of course, I can hear a modicum of her bark.
She’d make a fantastic hearing ear dog. But she’d miss her other
family pack members too much if she got certified as a hearing ear dog and left with me when, someday, I move on. But it just goes to show that the size of the dog is irrelevant unless one needs a dog to help steady the hearing impaired person – as in the case of Meniere’s.