Puppy Communication 101
It astonishes me that we are able to live in line with a totally different species and know what they need and want. The human that has got a mutual and respectful relationship with their dog is privileged. Dogs and people work in direct partnership in several roles that vary between help dogs for disabled people right through to competitive obedience training.
Communication with a new and unfamiliar dog will take a bit to perfect and often it feels like you may never get to a point of balance. Those amongst us that have lived with a dog for several years will say that they know what their canine buddy wants from one enormous brown eyed stare.
It takes observation and thought alongside basic knowledge of common dog behaviours to be in a position to connect to your dog efficiently. It is not overly difficult yet many of us struggle with communication to the point of despair. Owners of misunderstood dogs attend obedience training and ask for information from behaviourists continually.
For example if an untrained dog craves attention he can try to claim this attention by jumping up at his human. If the human pushes him off and screams angrily at the dog to “get down” the dog has been able to get his reward in the guise of attention. Voice and physical contact are rewarding. The dog may not like the tone of voice but if he is craving reassurance, any attention is more rewarding than none.
Put yourself in the dog’s head for a minute. You and he are sat together silently at home when there's a change in the environment; maybe somebody has knocked the door. He feels worried and insecure and wishes some reassurance. He may feel unsettled. The dog is concerned and has a choice to make. He jumps up and gets touched and spoken to. He stays away and gets ignored during the time he has to feel safe the most.
If this behaviour is repeated enough the human will have inadvertently trained the dog to leap up. This sort of interaction will train into the dog a specific reaction, as specific as formal obedience training will teach any behaviour. The dog doesn't know the difference.
Each dog has different experiences and needs. To communicate effectively with our dogs we must put ourselves in their paws. Emphasize. Attempt to work out why they're behaving in a certain way. Decide whether we have mistakenly taught them this unhelpful habit and work out how we can reward them for doing something a little more handy to us as an alternative.
If you need extra help to talk with your dog or mend certain unhelpful behaviours it may be worth looking for a local reward based obedience training class, and look for a reputable dog training instructor.