Owners always tell me their dogs are intelligent but it isn’t true. Ask a dog to hop over a fence of varying height and they can’t work out that low is easier than high. There is however one skill in which they excel: reading other animals and that includes us.

Things you can hide from your husband, wife, father, mother and children will not escape your dog. He will monitor every minor shift in your mood. If you’re anxious he’ll know and react accordingly either with dominance or anxiety. You cannot lie to a dog.

Words mean very little to your dog, why should they when he can read your intentions? When you yell at him in what you consider an assertive way he’ll simply listen to your inner conversation and respond appropriately.

I’ve learned over the years to communicate with my dogs using body language and energy. If I want to assert myself I do it not by shouting but with posture and attitude.

Most dogs with behaviour issues have their problems reinforced by their owners. Aggressive dogs rely on worried owners for clues of an approaching target. A tight lead or a nervous sigh will suffice. Remove the clues and the aggression subsides. Do not underestimate your dog’s ability to read the REAL you. They do it with the speed of a bar-code scanner.

I know from experience you can control a dog without speaking a word. In many instances the absence of human chatter makes it easier for the dog to understand.

Watch any really good dog handler and you will hear verbal commands kept to a bare minimum, often no more than a single word.

Body language and attitude are the essential tools for canine communication.

If you want to learn how it’s done join one of my classes by visiting me at

vicbarlow.com or texting me direct at 07590560012