Do You Know How To Speak Dog?


Our family owns three Persian cats and to be honest for a long time I pegged most dogs as slobbery messes without much direction.

Scientists recently discovered that dogs recognize their owner’s face and read our expressions. They understand what we are feeling and react accordingly. Dogs also share human emotions. They feel happy, sad, excited and scared. My mom has a miniature poodle named Ginger, so I’m definitely aware that she shares human emotions. She is a ball of hyper and always wants approval!

The problem is besides the basic emotions, I’ve not been able to ‘speak dog’. That is till I got the chance to read, How to Speak Dog: A Guide to Decoding Dog Language, a book that debunked a lot of my biases towards dogs and helped me understand what my mom’s dog was telling me.


Dr Gary Weitzman, a vetenerian and president of the San Diego Human Society in California, guides you through the book. He explains how dogs talk to us with their entire body, including eyes, ears, mouth, tail, posture and voice. According to Dr. Gary, all of these signals have multiple meanings and only by putting them together can we figure out what a dog is saying.

The first question I wanted to know is the age old question, “Why do dogs lick your face?”. My mom’s poodle does this and constantly! According to Dr Gary, your dog is giving you more than a ‘doggie kiss’. It is an appeasement gesture that dogs have inherited from their wolf ancestors.

I also learned a couple of cool facts that will spark the interest of young readers. For example, a boxer named Brandy holds the record for the longest tongue on a dog – 17 inches (43cm)!

If you want to better understand your dog this book is a must. It’s also a great book to read with your children before getting a family dog.

To learn more about How to Speak Dog: A Guide to Decoding Dog Language visit the National Geographic Store.

Disclosure: I am part of the National Geographic Kids Insider program.  I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.