Have you ever wondered why you humans can’t seem to keep a secret from your dog? It’s not necessarily because we dogs are so smart, but rather our equipment and the way we communicate. Ask me, I know! Let’s look at what I find to be the top three reasons.
Dogs hear much better than humans!
How many times has your dog given you “the look” when you try to be super quiet getting out a treat or food? We hear everything, and dogs with stand up ears hear even better than those of us with floppy ears! A mature dog can hear twice as much as a human ear with a much wider range of decibels. We also have some eighteen ear muscles which allow us to move our ears in the direction of the sound we want to hear. You might as well give up on trying to quietly sneak anything by your dog!
Dogs smell everything!
Dogs noses are incredible! We know before you even walk in the door that you were on a farm petting another dog. It is basically impossible for you to keep it a secret from your dog that you were at the pet store! Don’t try to keep your fear of something a secret from your dog, because we smell emotions.
A dog’s nose has 125 million to 300 million scent glands, where a human’s nose only has about 5 million! A dog can smell the smallest of particles from the greatest of distances. Dog noses also work differently than human noses. For more about that, check out a previous post I wrote about dog’s noses.
Dogs study human body language from the start!
Dogs don’t really do much with human language. We do, however, read human body language. We start to study human body language right away and can read humans better than humans read other humans. Something as slight as the way you turn your shoulders tell us you are going to turn, or reaching for your pocket may signal us that you are about to get us a treat from that pocket because you always have treats there. People are not good at reading dogs or people. Much of human body language is done subconsciously, but we dogs pick up on all of it.
Try walking your dog in a slumped position, meandering slowly down the road and see what your dog does. Most likely they will be into everything they can find, they may pull, they may not show a lot of interest in what you are doing. Next straighten your posture, walk in a swift, determined fashion and watch your dog pick up on the fact that you are the leader and you are in charge of the walk. Body language is almost always more effective than words when you want something from your dog.
My advice to all humans: don’t try to keep a secret from your dog because it just won’t work! By combining our ears, nose, and knowledge of body language, humans don’t have a chance at keeping a secret! Your dog always knows what you are up to, so try to always be on your best behavior!