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Communication with Your Dog: Try Synesthesia!

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The dog has the same meanings as most mammals, especially humans. What distinguishes us from the dog are the proportions between the use of the different senses. Man is mostly an animal of sight, while the dog perceives the world rather via the sense of smell. We have a hard time projecting ourselves into the heads of our hairy companions, the main reason is that we do not perceive the world at all like them. Although we have the same meanings, we do not have the same skills to use them. The human lives in a world of images, and a few sounds; the dog lives in a world especially of smells, but also of images and sounds (the smell being the most talented sense).

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The dog works mainly with the sense of smell, half of his brain is devoted to it. But that does not mean that it works without the other senses: it gave the dog the ability to ignore all other senses, especially when he goes back a track (we talk about cognition in ‘one-track mind’, when we are very focused on a task). In practice, the dog focuses on his nose, but the other senses are still active.

In addition, hunting takes into account this subtle mixture of senses: the sense of smell is used to detect prey, vision and hearing can locate it . The dog has also a hunting behavior where actually, at first, only the sense of smell is useful (to go up the track), but it must be attentive to the slightest movement or the least noise to avoid the run away before falling on it.

Humans love to stimulate their eyesight and can spend hours observing what they like, say that the dog experiences the same pleasures during the walk, when he smells different smells. It is an occupation, which gives activity in addition to providing pleasant sensations: research and comparison of odors is a fundamental need for a dog .

But it’s the same for other senses: the dog enjoys caressing and massage (more than the cat, for sure), and a dog that you regularly stimulate in this way will appreciate this contact a lot. Keep in mind that their feelings may be different from ours, especially in pleasant areas or not. Follow the reactions of your dog to give him the most pleasant caresses for him!

The taste also, is often neglected. Although the sense of smell and taste is intimately linked in one and the same sense, the dog does not have a very pronounced taste. For sure, he perceives the nuances, but it is not difficult: the dog is an opportunistic carnivore, who does not often difficult on what he eats. However, a dog that is educated on the palate may begin to show disgust for certain foods , and may even become difficult. It is therefore an additional pleasure to bring to the dog, but it must be said that to offer him variety, he will end up demanding it.

When communicating with your dog, you use the voice almost exclusively. In dogs, acoustic communication is mixed with smell and sight. It is therefore easier to communicate with your dog when you associate your voice postures or gestures . Educators often advise him, to learn commands from his dog: to use a gesture of the hand, simultaneously with the vocal injunction, makes learning much easier for the dog (and incidentally, often faster).

Synesthesia is the mixture of several senses , it turns out that for learning, it has shown the effectiveness of this technique including at school, for children (mixing lessons with music, for example) . For animals, the difference between the voice alone, and the voice plus the gesture, is even more blatant. They are much more used to navigating between these different senses, where we focus more easily on one (we describe human temperaments as visual, auditory or kinesthetic, but rarely a mixture of the three). So speaking and at the same time expressing oneself with mimicry and gestures is a good way to make oneself better understood by the dog!  

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