I bet you’ve heard this before: Wag more, bark less.

And this one: Don’t bite when a simple bark will do.

These clichés reflect on the phenomenon of how we all can be better people if we learn from our humble canines. Many books have been written about the integrity and wisdom innate in dogs, including my own book Sergei’s Eyes: Reflections of Soul Lessons. (Yes, a shameless plug!)

As dog-owners, we’d like to think we are completely in touch with our dogs and can accurately interpret their every move. But much occurs in day-to-day activities that only the most astute of us may catch. There exists a subtle form of communication and awareness with your dog that, once you understand it, will create an even stronger bond between you and your best friend. And, it may help you better manage other relationships as well, as these same practices can help raise emotional intelligence.

The following three lessons we can learn from our dogs, as well as many others, have been discussed by professional animal communicators and well-known authors such as Doreen Virtue, PhD and Penelope Smith in her book Animal Talk. I also have more than 20 years as a Reiki Master Teacher utilizing animal communication techniques and have recently taken a course from Debbie McGillivray, a professional animal communicator, author, and public speaker on the subject matter.

If you’re not ready to fully embrace this concept, that’s okay! The following three lessons will still help you be a better person and increase the bond with your pooch. What pet-lover wouldn’t want that?

1) Know that your dog reflects your own emotions

Before you judge your dog too harshly for not wanting to go for a walk, not listening to commands, or acting out of character, take another approach. Do a quick self-evaluation and reflect in a quiet space to see if this could be in response to something he or she is picking up from you. Are you in a bad mood? Feeling sad about something in your life? Annoyed by a co-worker? If so, your dog may be picking up on this and trying to absorb it to make you feel better. In fact, dogs “may mirror the anxiety and depressive or and negative expectations of their owners,” according to a recent study! So take time to thinking about this, then work it out together – dogs love to be a part of your healing process.


2) Understand how dogs can pick up on unseen energy of others.

Did you ever have an inkling – a sign – that someone was not quite being honest or not as they appeared on the surface? Sometimes when this happens, and we later find out that the little voice inside us was right, we berate ourselves for ignoring it. That sense that we sometimes ignore about people is one that dogs have available ten-fold – and if we trust their instincts, it’s yet another gift they give to us.

Just as dogs are able to reflect our own emotions, they can also pick up on the emotions, actions and “vibes” of others.  They use energy to communicate with other animals, so it makes sense they use it to communicate with us humans! Animals sense energy from people that cannot be hidden by false smiles or nice clothes. Have you ever had your dog act out of character when meeting someone new? Perhaps a growl on a first date to someone who later broke your heart?

Practice being observant and heed your dog-o-meter! Signs are not always in the aggressive manner. Even a subtle tail between the legs or leaving the room when he or she is normally very friendly can be their way of telling you something is not right. Or, a face full of kisses could mean this mate is dog-approved.


3) Remember that actions speak louder than words

This is true for humans and especially true for dogs. As they have no voice of their own, pets will use body language to get your attention.

Whimpers, lots of eye contact, and barking fall into this category. Take the time to look beyond the obvious to see what your pet is trying to tell you. For example, my dog Sydney loves to go on walks. Creatures of habit, we normally start in the same direction. One day, he was herding me (he’s a Cattle Dog mix) to start in the opposite direction. I didn’t practice what I preach, and I started us off along our normal route. About five houses down, a new weekend renter came out and so did their Pitbull, off-leash. Let’s just say it ended okay, but not without scare, stress, and a few scratches that could have been avoided had I trusted his unusual behavior as innate wisdom instead of defiance.

It becomes easier to decipher meaning as the bond between you and your dog becomes stronger. Patience is also key and knowing we all make mistakes. Don’t get discouraged; it’s like learning a second language. Who has ever learned a language in a day? A week?  One way to work on increasing this bond is to pet your dog’s ears gently and stroke out to the ends. While doing this think about what you learned in lesson #1. Unless a dog is ill or mistreated, his or her actions will be to help you.

Dogs are simple creatures and so are the lessons they have to share. It’s us humans who like to complicate things! These three lessons (and many others dogs have for us; they have lots!), can be simplified down to the fact that we all can learn from our canine companions with just a little daily effort.

Practice one lesson this week, or all three, and notice if you can start seeing outside-of-the-obvious. Start experiencing a greater bond with your dog and notice the wonderful gifts your dog-teacher brings to you! Your pooch really does have your best interest at heart, and the lessons they can teach us in their lifetime are endless.


Karen Fullerton is the founder and CEO of The Sergei Foundation, a nonprofit organization helping to save sick and injured companion pets’ lives for lower-income families who cannot afford veterinary care. She is the author of Sergei’s Eyes: Reflections of Soul Lessons, and proceeds 100% benefit this cause.

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On a more personal note, Karen has more than 20 years as Reiki Master Teacher and utilizes these skills for pet healing and communication. She and her husband live in Oak Island, North Carolina with her dog, Sydney, and two cats, Samantha and Jude.   

Web: KarenFullerton.com

Amazon Author Page: https://smile.amazon.com/Karen-Fullerton/e/B01N918QR1/