Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have conversation with our dogs? We could finally learn what that invisible thing is in the corner that they’re barking at, and offer real reassurance that we are in fact coming back when we leave for work in the morning.
As it is, we’re not there yet. Until someone creates a texting app for our furry friends (and teaches them to spell), we have to go off of what nature gave us—body language. Dogs might not be able to verbally tell us what they are thinking, but they’re constantly relating information to us through the way they hold their heads and tails and feet. From their eye contact or lack thereof. From the angle of their ears. And learning to understand their language is just as important as them learning to understand ours.
Pet Partners is a national organization that trains therapy animals and facilitates their visits at places like schools, hospitals, court rooms, and in the wakes of tragedies. Part of their intensive program includes teaching handlers to read their dog’s body language. Therapy dogs enter many stressful situations, and it’s crucial that handlers—often the pet’s own guardian—know when their dog needs a break.
It doesn’t matter if your dog does therapy visits or just acts as your personal therapist at home; all pet parents can benefit from Pet Partners knowledge and training. Fortunately, now you can do just that. Pet Partners is now offering a 1.5 hour online, interactive Canine Body Language course, and they’ve opened it up to everyday pet parents. The course will apply to non-therapy specific settings and will feature techniques for responding to certain behaviors. The course costs $20 for registered Pet Partners handlers and $45 to members of the public.
We encourage all dog parents who think they could use a 101 class in their four-legged friend’s body language to take advantage of Pet Partners extensive experience and check out the course. Who knows, you may eventually be able to figure out why your dog is barking into space (fingers crossed it’s not a ghost…).