Article by Kirsten Cowles
Most creatures use body language in some way to communicate. More than 50% of communication between people is body language. Body language can be anything from facial expressions, where your eyes are looking, the way you are standing, hand gestures, and so much more. Learning how to use body language to train your pet is an very effective tool. Learning how to understand your pet’s body language is even more important to your training success.
First I will discuss how to understand your pet’s body language and how it can influence what you are trying to accomplish with your pet. If you ever have time or the opportunity to see your pet in a natural setting with other animals of the same species you can learn how they use body language to communicate. I am most familiar with training dogs so I will discuss their body language habits that I have observed. So lets say your thinking about getting a new pet whether it be a dog, cat, rabbit, bird, whatever. The first thing you should do is find out if the animal likes you. First let the animal get to know you. Place yourself in their environment and let them come to you. For dogs, let them come to you and smell you. If they think they can trust you they will let you pet them. Only do this after they have smelled you and then stick around. If they leave after they have smelled you then they don’t have any interest in you. Other animals will have similar rituals. Other body language “words” are as follows. If an animal is crouched in a low position with their ears back they are either in a submissive position or they are fearful. For dogs if they are in full stance with ears up and forward, and tail up then they are in a very alert position. If a dog is showing their teeth and their ears are back then they are in an aggressive position. The more time you spend with your pet the more you will understand their body language.
The second step is learning how you can use your own body language to communicate with your pet when training. The person training them in most instances can use the body language that animals use. Of course your not going to go up to a dog and start smelling their rear end but standing close to your pet can show them that you are dominant and mean business. Say your dog always begs for food when you are at the dinner table and you would like that to stop. When your dog is sitting there stand up and use your body to push them back and say stay in firm voice when you push them back far enough. Repeat this several times and soon the dog will not come closer than you will allow them. The key to this is not to use your hands and drag them away but to use your full body and push them back. You can use this technique for many things such as when you feed them. Push them back and only allow them to eat when you say that it is ok. This makes them think that you are the leader and are in control. The more time you spend with your pet you will learn many more ways to use your body language to get them to do what you want them to do.
About the Author
Kirsten Cowles enjoys writing about pet training.
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