How Well Do You and Your Dog Understand Each Other?

Golden Retriever on the bed.

Ahhhhh, finally a chance to spread out without peasants getting in my way. After all, it is a Queen bed, isn't it?

Some dogs know just what we need before we even say it. Others don’t seem to understand what they knew just the day before.

And what about you? Do you understand what your dog needs?

Are you and your dog communicating?

Take the quiz.

1. When it’s doggy dinner time, your dog

(A) Is standing by her food dish waiting for you to serve her.

(B) Barks her head off for her food. Come to think of it, she does that even when it isn’t dinner time.

2. When you’re chatting with someone and your dog is in the room too, when you say his name he

(A) Looks up to see what you want.

(B) Continues whatever he was scratching, sniffing, or humping.

 3. When you plan a fun activity for your dog, it includes 

(A) Being off leash, mud, adventure, and stimulating smells.

(B) Wearing a very itchy costume and having to sit very still and quiet in a crowd filled with food, other dogs, and kids who like to pull fur.

4. “Walkies” are when 

(A) Your dog picks the route (within reason; following a squirrel across heavy traffic isn’t too smart) and gets to sniff what she wants along the way.

(B) You catch up on calls you need to return while getting in a power walk around the block with your dog constantly pulling you forward or backward.

5. When your dog has an accident in the house, you know he

(A) Might be sick or just couldn’t wait any longer.

(B) Is getting revenge for (pick one) getting neutered, being left alone, not being allowed to eat garbage.

6. At the dog park, if you hid behind a tree while your dog wasn’t looking, she would

(A) Stop playing for a little while until she figured out where you were.

(B) Never notice you were gone. She might even follow someone else home.

7. Your dog’s favorite tug toy is

(A) Made by Kong, Nylabone, or some other pet toy maker.

(B) Your leg, your lunch, that 25,000 page manuscript of a novel you’ve been writing since college.

8. When your dog barks

(A) You can tell if he’s hungry, has to go outside, or sees a stranger at the door.

(B) You scream,”For the love of God, don’t you ever shut up?”

9. A good dog is

(A) A happy, fulfilled, and tired dog.

(B) One who never barks, pulls on leash, wakes up before six a.m., or farts. You know, a robo-dog.

10. A good person is

(A) Someone who does her best to understand her dog and loves him forever even when it isn’t always easy.

(B) What are you talking about? I just want to have a good dog. It has nothing to do with me.

How did you do?

Obviously we’re hoping to have as many “A” answers as possible. It doesn’t always happen.

Even those with the best human/canine bond in the world will sometimes face spider monkey wake up calls or failure to launch (into a bicycle cart).

But isn’t it lucky our dogs and we have an entire lifetime to work on figuring each other out?

Can you think of a time you felt really good about understanding your dog? For me, it was figuring out what sound Honey made in her crate when she needed a drink of water. 

When do you and your dog understand each other the best?
Hop on…

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  1. Very nice quiz. My pugs do bark as Im feeding them so I was not sure if that was A or B but htey definitely know the time we feed them as we do it every single day, I just think their puggie brains get very excited at the prospect of food. Also we dont do too much off leash aroudn here but we do a lot of on leash walks in the city, the park, and tons of other places

  2. All hail the Queen!
    Down to business:
    1) B, sort of: the feeding schedule is set in sand so dogs don’t bark/bay to alert me; they do when I am preparing their bowls.
    2) A! almost all do this; a trainer I had recently noted how, when I left the yard over the porch, all my dogs looked up to be sure they knew what I was doing :).
    3) A, definitely. One doesn’t live with hounds w/o mud and lots of sniffing, even on walks.
    4) A!!! People walking their dogs and chatting on phones drive me nuts; give your dog some attention or at least presence as well as giving yourself a respite from ubiquitous connectivity.
    5) A – duh.
    6) We have our own personal dog park but A – example: yesterday, new Great Pyrenees puppy (barely a year old, 96#, lost dog now at SW) played with Justus. I quietly moved to the porch to get video; in the video, both dogs look to me at different times but cont. their play :) – and Snowy has only been here since the evening of Valentine’s Day!
    7) A & B – no manuscripts but the paper trash bin is a toy box as is the lower shelf of a bookcase; I know this and am careful what I put there; on the other hand, approved toys are always used, chewed and appreciated but in a pack, I am careful how I hand them out and to whom.
    8) A mostly; feed in silence (moi) with loose dogs – less stress for all. Sometimes, I yell – getting less and less as I assess reasons before reacting.
    9) A!!! Which is why I am delighted Snowy and Justus play well – both are high energy so they can wear each other out.
    10) A, without a doubt. Not perfect but always trying.
    Cool quiz – tried to be honest; wish all were As.

  3. Oh, wait…were the A answers the good answers?

  4. What a great post! I was thinking about some of the same things this morning. I think Bunny and I are almost always in sync, but she’s not a mind reader and neither am I. We both have our moments, but we both forgive and forget. She’s an easy dog, though. She rarely barks or causes trouble, but she has definitely, definitely pooped out of spite! lol The times I think we’re most in sync are usually at the nursing home or out hiking. I rarely have to tell her what I want her to do, or if I do, it’s a gentle request.

    If only the Shepherds were so easy! lol I’m still working on those relationships!

  5. The As are pretty good, but I think we need a C option for some of those!

  6. Mostly As. Sometimes I know what she wants but just ignore her. Like when it’s 6.30 and she thinks it’s time to eat and I’m in the middle of MY dinner. Then I just tell her to wait. Humans first. I know, I know…I’m a bad dogmama.

    At this very moment, we’ve just woken up and she definitely wants a walk because she’s glaring at us and making harrumphing noises. She’s also got her bum to her Cushion’s face which means she’s upset with him for not taking her out for her evening walk yesterday. Like an open book, is Ms Pea 😉

  7. Mike Webster says:

    The Husband’s Two Cents:
    I was an “A” student in high school, but I’m a “B” student here. (Or worse.)

  8. Great quiz! I’m glad I got mostly As. the Daddy just scored a solid list of Bs and you’ve achieved in one post what 5 years of my nagging couldn’t, so thanks for that!

    It’s funny, we were just talking last night about how Koly & Fe have very distinctive barks depending on what they want. Avery asked why I was ignoring Kolchak as he barked last night. I replied that he was “pestering me for a cookie; you don’t respond to bad behavior. He can have a cookie when he knocks it off.” Avery thought I was nuts and went to let them outside (what he thought they wanted). Kol wouldn’t even go out in the yard, but he stood under the treat jar and barked some more. Duh, his “outside” bark is throatier and more urgent.

    Thanks for the shout out. In positive news, I haven’t been mauled by a spider monkey in two weeks! A combination of your Kong trick and wildly varying meal times has worked wonders for my demanding little monkey.

    • Wonderful distinguishing the barks and their reason; I know each hound’s bay and can tell people who it is, if they are playing or dang, in distress!

  9. My Weim and I have our own language. People call us both aloof. We’re both good with that! :)

  10. Mostly As, but I do have my moments when I slip into B territory. Even when you’re in sync, sometimes the connection needs a tune-up. :)

  11. According to this quiz, my dog and I understand each other very well. But if that’s the case how come I still end up banging my head against the wall on a daily basis? 😉

    The best moments are when it feels like we are a team. Not just on the agility course, but in real-life situations. Such as when on a walk and she chooses to look at me instead of dashing forward to greet another dog. Or when I see her ears go back and I distract her before she gets too freaked out. Luckily these instances happen more frequently these days.

  12. Sampson had all A’s, Delilah had all A’s except for the food. I can’t seem to get her to understand that she will be fed twice a day, every day.

    I really feel like both my dogs and I are connected, Delilah is doing really well on her walks, returning when I call and for the most part sticking close. When we are off leash I usually let them pick the trail and if for some reason they want to go somewhere I don’t all I usually have to say is we’re going this way.

    I wish all people understood what their relationships with their dog was supposed to be like.

  13. Love this quiz- and happy to answer A to almost all of them (with Cali) . .Saydee was a different story, but we only had 2 months with her!

  14. Great guideline for judging whether or not you’re paying attention to your dog! And thanks for making me feel better about how I’m doing with my own :)

  15. this quiz was awesome. do you know WHY it was so awesome? we were able to answer A for almost every question!

    that is a shock to my system.

    i fully expected to fail this quiz. you just made my day, pamela!