Talking to Your Dog – It Doesn’t Mean You are Crazy

Picture of a Maltese dog and a woman

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation with your dog and wondering why he hasn’t answered back?  If so, you are not alone!  Dog owners worldwide talk to their dogs, and most of us are convinced that they understand us and answer back in their own unique way.  Just take Fido out for a walk, and you’re likely to encounter a vast number of dog owners talking to their dogs, and before long, you find yourself joining in!

Whether we’re having a chat about how Fido’s bath would go much quicker if he didn’t fight back or how the neighbor’s cat really doesn’t enjoy his “vocal attentions”, we too talk to our dogs, and the truth is we really like it, and it seems that our dogs do too.

Are Their Benefits to Talking to Our Dogs?

Since Fido’s primary means of communication isn’t speech, it seems odd that we would choose to talk to our dogs.  Perhaps on our part, it is instinctual.  We express ourselves through talking, and we hope that Fido picks up on the message we are trying to convey and responds appropriately.

We are wise enough to realize that Fido never answers us in words, but he certainly does seem to give responses, whether they come in the form of head tilts or seemingly obeyed commands.

Do our dogs really understand what we are saying?  Does talking to our dogs serve a purpose?

Here are some thoughts concerning the benefits of talking to our dogs:

Some words have meaning for our dogs.
To say that our dogs don’t understand the words we use when we speak to them is very short-sighted.  Just try to spell the word “walk”, and you’ll quickly find out that Fido not only understands words, but he can also spell them!

There is certainly reason to believe that though dogs do not speak that they understand what we are trying to communicate when we speak to them.  Many dogs have a vast vocabulary of words, particularly those who are trained for dog performance sports.  The average dog knows a large number of commands which are delivered using verbal cues such as “sit”, “down”, “stay”, or “come”.  And what dog isn’t intimately familiar with the word “treat”?

Yes, dogs definitely do understand words, making this an excellent means of communicating with them. 

Many dogs understand our message even if they do not grasp the words.
We are well aware that body language sends a strong message to the people around us. This is also true of our dogs. When we talk to our dogs, they may not necessarily be able to understand the words that we carefully select to share with them, but they do pick up on our tone and body language exceptionally well.

The act of using words sometimes is more for us than for our dogs.  But the vehicle through which we deliver them is what resonates with our favorite furry friends.  Our tone conveys to our dogs whether the words we are using are happy, sad, mad, or otherwise.  So too does the position of our bodies.  Standing with our arms folded across our chest sends Fido a powerful message that gives him all of the information he needs to determine our mood.

We can easily get our message across through these means alone.

Talking to our dogs increases our bond with them.
There is no doubt that baby talking to our dogs is one good way to get their attention.  One of the most powerful words every dog understands is his name. From this alone, we can deduce that dogs DO indeed attach meaningful significance to some words.

Dogs also realize that when we speak to them, we are trying to engage with them and that this interaction is special and meant specifically for them.  It is an immeasurable tool which helps us to increase our bond.

Since our dogs love to please us, they enjoy our attempts to communicate with them.  When we call Fido’s name, it is not uncommon for us to receive an enthusiastic greeting or response.  Our dogs have learned that when we speak to them, it is a positive experience.  Through our speech, we give them the gift of our undivided attention which is the most valuable thing in any dog’s life.

Our dogs like it.
Other people might not like the sound of our voices, but our dogs do.  It is one of the characteristics that defines who we are and helps our dogs to understand when we are present.  Our dogs know our voices as well as they know our faces, and they love to respond to them.

It is a positive means of working out our emotions.
A lot of people talk to work out their feelings, and our dogs are fantastic listeners.  They never interrupt, and they never tire of hearing what we have to say.  Best of all, they always agree with us!  A friend like that is hard to find!

Talking to our dogs provides a wonderful release for us.  Some people even choose to “rehearse” important conversations with their dogs before going to the person that they need to resolve a conflict with.  This allows the person to work through what they really want to say with the added benefit of a neutral audience.  The act of hearing words out loud adds weight to them and can be invaluable to the thinking process.  By talking to our dogs first, we can work out phrases and strong emotions that could be taken the wrong way if verbalized to the actual person in question without taking the proper time to really properly articulate what needs to be said.

Are you crazy if you talk to your dog?
So, the question remains, “Are you crazy if you talk to your dog?”  Well, if you are, the rest of the neighborhood must be too, so you’re in good company!

Talking to your dog carries many benefits both for you and for your dog.  If you enjoy it, there is no need to stop.  It is a hallmark of a healthy relationship with your beloved pet.

Do you enjoy talking with Fido?  If so, you’re not alone, and you’re not crazy!  But keep the Guinness World Book of Records’ phone number nearby in case he answers back.  You could be a millionaire!



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