The Importance of Touch
Investigating a turtle
Dogs are very physical creatures, much more so than we are. They perceive the world in a more tactile way than we do. They don’t just look at things from a distance to experience them—they investigate by smell and touch. They paw at, touch their noses to, and put their teeth on unknown objects to learn about them. They use their bodies in play, to give affection, to challenge and to discipline. So it makes sense that we use that same type of communication with them so we may better understand them and vice versa.
So communicate with your dog on his terms: learn about him by getting to know him physically, and show him who you are in return. How strong is he? Is he sensitive anywhere on his body? How intense does he get when playing? Roughhousing, handling your dog’s ears, paws, tail, even brushing up against your dog are all methods of communicating through touch. Through touch we can know what our dog is feeling at any given moment (e.g. tension or excitement) and also give our dog direction (calm down).
Calming an excited dog
Resting after play