Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Attitude & Authenticity (#atozchallenge)

Did you know that dogs can't lie? Well, they can't. I'm sure they'd like to. When you come home to a living room covered in feathers from the new sofa's cushions, I'm sure they'd love to be able to look at you in the eye and give the performance of a lifetime.

Thank you, Claudia Sanches, for the photos!
But they can't. Because their communication--oh yeah, they do "talk"--is based on body language. Dogs are the original heart-on-their-sleeve characters. Even if they don't wear sleeves.

Nope, they can't lie to you. But you can't lie to them, either. They read you like a Vegas billboard lighting up the sky. No vet, you say? Uh-huh, well, I'll just stay here under the bed if it's all the same to you.

This isn't some kind of psychic canine ability, either. All animals communicate this way. Including humans.

As wonderful as speech and words are, they're also a hindrance. Words can't substitute attitude--and I can't understand why we keep trying to do exactly that.

You don't have to tell a dog to walk the talk. The dog's walk is the dog's talk.

Thank you, Claudia Sanches, for the photos!
A dog's attitude tells you everything you need to know about him/her. Self-assured or insecure. Confident or scared. Hungry or satisfied. Sad or happy. Interested or bored. Apprehensive or curious.

How much simpler would our lives be if we did a bit more of that, too? How much more fulfilling, more authentic?

The lesson here is twofold. First: practice reading body language--your own, and others'. Wean yourself from the dependence on words, on what s/he said. Language is only 7% of a person's meaning.

Second: don't talk what you can't walk. Or, like Hemingway said, "Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk."


  1. "Words can't substitute attitude--and I can't understand why we keep trying to do exactly that." So true.
    We should certainly try to emulate dogs in walking the talk!

  2. Loved your post. Of course we can learn so many lessons from animals. Being from a family of dog lovers I couldn't agree more to your post.

  3. I love dogs, but I do not own one at the moment because I live in a small apartment, and I feel it would be unfair to coop a dog up in one. However, I did adopt a little cat someone abandoned, and I think the world would be a better place if everyone who can do so adopted unwanted dogs and cats. I remember years ago how authentic my dog lady could always be, and how I enjoyed her company more than many people I knew in high school. Anyway, I am stopping by because we are doing the A to Z Challenge together, so I just wanted to say hello, and wish you the best of luck.

    Sweetbearies Art Projects

    Sweetbearies Art Photography

    1. I know of a breeder that prefer to sells to people in apartments because she knows they will be taken out for regular walks... people with gardens tend to just let outside.

  4. So true about dogs can't lie; I know that from our corgi. I will take your advice and practice reading more body language. I'm sure there is a lot I'm missing in my interactions with people! Great start to the challenge!


  5. I have heard that the best poker players in the world got that way not only because they are good at concealing their own body language tells but because they are masters at reading body language- including others trying to conceal something! A dogs openness about their feelings is incredibly refreshing. What a beautiful post and a great way to begin the month/alphabet!

  6. That is all so true. I can read either of these guys so well.

  7. The letter A seems to be all over the place today . . . . . :)

    Rob Z Tobor

  8. Dog body language is so interesting. I have 5 dogs at my house and I just spend hours watching them communicate and play with each other (hey it keeps me off TV!). Everything is so subtle in their world - we could learn a lot about stopping and actually being in the moment and focusing 100% on who we are interacting with. Great post!

    Visting from AtoZ at The Five Dog Blog

  9. Did I lose my post or are you a comment moderator... anyway I'm glad dogs were patient with me while I learned their language, though I did get bitten a few times :) Reflex Reactions

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Dogs' body language is so telling, if you know what to look for. Should be the same for humans, but I have more luck with the dogs. LOL Great post! :)
    The Doglady's Den

  12. Insightful post- I am so coming back for more. Pawsome star to the challenge. Body language, in dogs and people, is underestimated so much that is is overwhelming. I found it useful watching Kikopup's video on Calming Signals to my own handling, general knowledge and giving better advice.

    Dina Mom

  13. Love it! It is true that dog's can't lie, but it would be wonderful if humans actually understood half of what they were telling us! (including when they slink away from the feathers in the living room - who knew a bird DID actually get into the house!)

  14. I am so excited to connect with you in this challenge - another dog lover YEAH! Loved your perspective and I agree. They KNOW when we are lying to them

  15. So, so true. As I was reading this I was thinking of my own dog. Her eyes, tail, the way she held her head, her squat or non squat walk told me everything I needed to know. And it would great if people allowed themselves to rely more their natural nonverbal communication than the spoken word.

    A Short A Day


No love like Dog Love--or Blog Friend Love!