I have been privileged to share time on this Earth with many great dogs but some are somehow “different” and I wonder if you have experienced this kind of connection?
The Canine Connection
by Karen Rhodes, Family Dog Consultant
Large, small, plump, thin, energetic, calm, young and old, full bred and mixed breed, all dogs have a special place in my heart. However, my youngest dog has me exploring and asking many questions about the human-dog relationship that is so unique in the animal kingdom.
My publisher was intrigued and said we should ask readers to share their significant experiences on this human-dog connection. She thinks it is related to the kind of extra-sensory perception many dogs seem to have.
My heart-connection started several years ago when I decided to expand my pack from two to three dogs. My age and health have me hooked on the smaller dogs after years of German Shepherds, Shar-Pei and several Great Danes. I had several conversations with dog breeders of different types of dogs including many breeds that had recently acquired AKC recognition.
In 2017, through careful research. I purchased a female Toy Fox Terrier puppy from North Carolina. My family and I travelled from CT to get our new family member. I had previously selected the puppy from photos and discussions with the breeder about what I wanted in a dog; upbeat personality, healthy genetics, show potential, soundness and of course cuteness. Upon arriving I immediately recognized which pup I had selected from puppy photos and picked up the tiny little girl.
For the duration of the visit the puppy lay contently in my lap, napping and occasionally looking up with adoring eyes. From the first time I held her I felt there was something unique about this puppy, a deep connection.
Now, three years later my feelings proved correct. Roux consistently makes direct eye contact with me, looking at my face and into my eyes for sometimes ten minutes at a time. There is a high level of trust in me. She appears to be looking at me for direction when she is exposed to new humans or situations but she is more curious than fearful or guarded.
She expresses herself to me simply but honestly. It’s almost as if she can read my thoughts. I figured it is just me or my imagination because I love all my four-footed kids equally and spend individual time with each of them.
But then I wondered, is she being intuitive or is it routine? Do I give off unseen signals or other non-verbal cues as to my intent? If so, why do the other dogs do similar things intermittently but with Roux it is different, it appears she is constantly in synchronization with my every action.
Well I tried an experiment to see if it might just be a learned behavior. The experiment was a simple one. I never sleep upstairs during the day. I do however ascend the stairs for certain tasks but Roux never cares to go upstairs for my usual routines. One day I decided that I would take a quick nap before evening chores.
Our usual routine for bedtime is the pups get a treat before going to sleep upstairs. This time I did not go to where I keep the treats - I just decided to go upstairs. I did not speak or do any of the evening go-to-bed lock up routines.
But Roux ran to the place where I keep the treats and sure as could be, she sat in wait of her usual bedtime treat. She knew I was going upstairs to lay down. Clearly precognition!
Other behaviors which differ from my other dogs are that she will always look up at me when I enter a room. They probably notice but don’t acknowledge. She watches where I am in the house and when we are outside. She waits at the foot of the bed before I lay down to sleep. She will express to me whether she wants to play, go outside, has to relieve herself, cuddle up, go for a ride or walk. My other dogs communicate their needs but certainly not with this extent.
Roux tries to engage me in “conversation.” She is very clear in expressing her THOUGHTS, boredom, need for reassurance, happiness, and other human-like emotions and needs. Is this due to a greater intelligence, a deeper perception? Are we more connected in some unknown way than the other dogs?
Years ago, my father had a German Shepherd male who he adored. However, he ended up giving the dog to me because he felt there was a significant personality bond between us and he said he felt like an intruder in this relationship. Being a young teen, I dismissed this as just the dog liked me better.
Thinking back now, there were similarities between the bond little Roux and I share and the one I had with that huge German Shepherd. She does not have any separation anxiety or behavioral problems if the routine acts are changed. She will play and cuddle with others of the household so I know she is not just a one-person dog.
I am curious to hear from others who may have experienced similar connections or precognition in a relationship with their dog or with any other species. Pease email me directly at email@example.com and give me permission to quote you for a follow-up column.
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