Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Benefits Of Teaching From Books On Animal Communication

By John Kennedy

Cable television has shows about problem cats. Complete with a self-acclaimed cat whisperers of some sort spouting mumbo jumbo about how the humans have hurt the feelings of their pet, and they must learn to modify every aspect of their personal life in order to accommodate kitty, who is probably just being a furry little jerk. Forget the psychobabble and just get decent, veterinary peer-reviewed books on animal communication.

How many of us can actually afford to have one of these quasi-psychic pet interpreters come to our unkempt palace of second-hand furniture to teach us that we should be walked all over by the family member who has the fewest responsibilities. Understanding a little bit about body language and basic sounds that a creature makes can be much more effective. Besides, it is probably quicker to learn than trying to read the mind of a toy poodle who probably had siblings for parents.

The intent here is not to claim that animals cannot express complex thoughts and emotions. In fact, not every cat person seems to realize that the slow squinting blink that their pet gives them with both eyes, making eye contact with them, is an expression of love. What makes this particular expression even more special is that it comes without the usual submissive pose that cats often use to show affection towards their human servant.

Cat people might also be a little less likely to throw their clawed companion across the room when it reaches out to bite for no apparent reason. These bites almost never result in injury, and are actually intended to express an intimate affinity for their human. This expression of quasi-sexual dominance is often immediately followed up by their usual expression of submission by showing the belly.

Our canine friends can sometimes be taught to mouth human sounds similar to an I love you, or a hello. Dogs will make these attempts at mimicking human speech for no other reason than to please with the hope of getting five minutes of our undivided attention. Seriously, dogs literally exist to please their humans, so granting them those few moments for any reason or no reason at all would probably prevent any possibility of doggy depression.

Publications can teach us these things and so much more when it comes to understanding the language of other mammals who inhabit this planet with us. Humans have many ways of communicating that do not involve spoken language, and so does every other creature we encounter. A bear will make one sound to sooth and show love for their cubs, but a very different sound to warn another predator that she is there.

A dog may have one sound for rough play, and a similar yet different tone when he or she is warning a child that they have pulled their ears one time too many. A cat may howl while mating, but they have a different howl that indicates the female is ready to mate. As any cat owner knows, they have yet another ear-shattering sound to indicate that it wants in or out, or in then out, then in again, but maybe out, oh meow.

Finding a good bed-time type easy reader book with this meme can certainly help small children learn to treat their pets with a little more gentleness. Well, at least teach them the sounds their pets might make the moment before a warning bite takes place. Relax mom, most pets do not intend to harm a child, but I have yet to meet the toddler who does not attempt to break a tail or rip out a measure of fur at least once.

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