Finally we get to touch! the last of the senses we’ll be talking about. Let’s look at how a dog reacts to being touched and how a dog uses touch to get to know their environment.
Let’s start talking about our dogs whiskers or vibrissae. They are long stiff and straight, and are modifications of sinus hairs. They have a blood supply and nerve endings. When agitated dogs flare their whiskers. Whisker position is a good detail to observe when trying to read to situation your dog is going through- are we happy, sad, mad, etc.
We use our whiskers in the dark, you may have heard of our whiskers being called “curb feelers”. They help us find our way around in the dark. In some cases it was thought they help us funnel scents to the nose.
Our paws are also sensitive and are used in exploring things to close for us to focus in on. Touching is a another way we dogs focus in on things in our environment.
** Being that our paws are so sensitive, they can burn easily on hot pavement, or bruised or cut easily (like shells on the beach, etc) so PLEASE I implore you to PROTECT YOUR DOGS PAWS with doggy boots or a paw wax such as Musher’s Wax or some other product!**
Our skin which resembles that of your human skin, also helps in a dogs touch. Yes, the skin is the largest organ in both canines and humans. Our hair/ fur is also considered part of our skin.
Types of Touch
We love to be touched, there is no doubt about that! Think about it, puppies sleep in a pile very close to one another. When your dog sleeps, they are either perched up against another dog butt to butt, or spoon you late at night! They keep in touch with whoever they can. If they do not sleep on the bed (we’ll discuss sleeping in bed with your dog in another blog post soon!) , they sleep at the foot of the bed or right next to to keep closely in touch as possible, and expect a pet in the morning. We use nudges, nibbles, body slams, and biting as part of their communication.
How can people use touch to benefit their training and all
You can use touch as a reward, to rev up your dog, or to calm it down. BUT you do have to know where and when to touch, which we shall cover later as well.
**Keep in mind stroking a dogs fur in the direction of the fur, head to tail- is relaxing for most dogs.**
**While rubbing your dog against the direction of the fur gets them worked up!**
Ok, now that we have a basic understanding of touch go and bond with your dog today, lower your blood pressures and relax one another and have a happy and healthy tail waggin’ day!