Honey stood with her paws on the bottom step and looked up at me. She had something to tell me and I had to figure out what it was.
You see, I believe our dogs talk to us. And we only need to learn to listen.
Just Let Me Sleep
Honey loves to sleep in.
After she eats breakfast at 7 a.m., she’s happy to doze for the next few hours. Unfortunately, on travel days, it’s tough catching a nap.
Shortly after breakfast my husband takes Honey off the boat for a good run, play time, and a bathroom break. Since she’ll be confined to the boat until we make our next port, we want to give her every chance to get her ya yas out.
Once Honey and Mike come back, the boat is the center of lots of activity—putting things away, turning on the instruments, disconnecting shore power, and finally, casting off our lines and setting sail.
Honey tries to sleep in the cockpit. But it ain’t easy with us rushing and me stepping around her flinging lines (ropes).
The other day, we added the step of taking the cover off the engine to check out a problem.
Uh, oh. Now it’s getting dangerous. Time to put Honey below.
We thought she’d be upset to be separated from us. But actually, she seemed relieved to be able to sleep undisturbed.
At least until Honey finished her beauty sleep.
I’m Ready To Come Up Now
Around noon, I looked down to see Honey looking up at us from the cabin. She put her front paws on the bottom step of the companionway ladder and just looked.
What did she want?
It was Honey’s way of telling us she had spent enough time sleeping alone in the cabin. Now she wanted someone to lift her up so she could sleep beside us in the cockpit.
She Talks With Her Eyes
Compared to some dogs I’ve known, Honey is not very vocal.
Occasionally she’ll let out a demand woof when we’re eating something especially yummy. And if we’re off the boat talking to a stranger (like when we arrive at a fuel dock), she goes nuts barking until she’s allowed to join the party.
But most of what Honey wants to tell us she does by positioning her body and talking with her eyes. And generally we understand what she’s trying to say.
There’s her “it’s time for bed, please lift me into the v-berth and follow as soon as possible” look.
And her “I’m thirsty and my water bowl is empty” look.
It’s hard to miss her “I’m feeling a little uncertain of myself and I’d like you to settle down so I can cuddle with you” look.
And who could fail to understand her “I’d like a little something of what you’re eating?” Especially when it’s accompanied by Honey drooling all over my foot.
Two Kinds Of Dog Lovers
Sometimes I ask myself what makes some dog lovers different?
I’ve met people who love their dogs but don’t seem to understand them very well. They don’t realize that their dog
- doesn’t know his name
- feels uncomfortable or afraid
- won’t exercise herself out in the yard because all she really wants is the company of her people.
And then there are the other dog lovers. The ones who
- add another family member only after considering their dog’s needs
- pay attention to their dog in all new situations
- understand what their dog is trying to tell them most of the time.
Y’know, people like you. Who are reading this right now.
The big divide between dog lovers is not based on training philosophies or whether the dog has lots of toys and treats. It’s not based on working dogs vs companion dogs.
The big divide in dogdom is between people who listen to their dogs and people who don’t.
Maybe if we could convince every dog lover that dogs have something to say and are worth listening to, we’d have much happier dogs.
And happier people too.
Your Turn: Has your dog ever told you something you had trouble figuring out? What was it?