Dog owners take for granted that dogs can communicate with us without understanding WHY it is the world’s only true interspecies communication!
WHY DOGS TALK TO US
Some of you are already thinking “I gotcha!” as you picture the dolphin, admittedly one of the smartest mammals. Okay, you’re right but I grew up swimming with porpoise in Tampa Bay and I can assure you no porpoise would prefer to live with people. I could tell you a lot about dolphins, like how smart they are to con us by appealing to our vanity…
The AKC published an article in early 2018 about the different types of sounds dogs make. (We provided the link but AKC changed it so we apologize for the omission.) The author, Anna Burke, was captivatingly accurate when explaining the vocal ways in which dogs communicate with humans. What has always intrigued me is WHY?
The “Why” part is fascinatingly unique but so taken for granted that it is often skipped over by good writers and scientists. Why are dogs the only species that tries to communicate with humans?
I know, you are thinking about chimps and gorillas. Forget it. Although we know them to be highly intelligent, apes have never sought us out and even those raised in captivity would be gone in a flash if given opportunity.
No, the dog is the only species that loves and chooses to be with mankind. Note the irony in that term given the things we do to animals and to each other. There are many theories about why the dog came in from the wild. Mine is below but for now, let us note that the dog is so unique among the animal kingdom that he is now generally classified as Canis Familiaris instead of Canis Lupus Familiaris i.e. separate from the wolf.
Rightfully so and having chosen to come live with humans, the dog honors us in ways that we have not evolved enough to understand. Ponder that one later.
Some bird lovers would say the raven came to us but they are fans of Edgar Allen Poe, not animal science. While parrots and canaries are interesting pets, they would fly away as surely as a buzzard! Equine, bovine, and porcine species are common in human environments but not as companions. They would love to leave and be with their own kind.
Cat lovers, I hear you and indeed, cats talk to us but stop feeding your cat and he’s gone like a summer lover when the snow flies.
What about rats? Nothing is more common to the human environment than rodents but we certainly have not become friendly with them nor do we care what they might say... Back to cats. Do they talk to us because they love us and want to share their emotions with us? Some would say your cat communicates by face and leg-rubbing but it’s hard to be sure because she rubs the chair leg equally as passionately.
Your horse may nicker when you approach with food but how often does he seek your company when out to pasture? Well this could go on but by now you’re either bored or waiting for the big disclosure about why dogs talk to us.
You know don’t you? All the reasons and all the many ways our dogs talk to us. They absolutely positively love us. Dogs have sooooo much to tell us if we could but talk to each other. Truly, dogs are the only “other” species that rivals mankind in offering unshakable love, loyalty, and sacrifice.
So is that why dogs came to us? Is that why they love children? Are they are trying to teach us by example. Depending on your religious beliefs, there has only been one other example of such unreserved love. Is that why, somewhere along the path of human development, we qualified for (or desperately needed) the gift of dog?
Is that why dog spelled backwards is god. Whatever your faith, you have to wonder about that. So when your dog talks to you, listen with your heart. And perhaps, with a new understanding and a lot of wonderment about canis familiaris.