We talk too much and say too little

Our dogs, I’m sure, think that we talk too much and say too little. My advice to dog owners: when you cannot improve on silence, be quiet.

The function of communication is to achieve and/or maintain a desired outcome. In other words, communication—information, instruction, persuasion, control, motivation, emotional release and information—is all about change. If we don’t want anything in particular, the best we can do is to keep quiet.

Communication happens by means of signals with many different forms, e.g. sound (verbal and non-verbal), body language, facial expression, eye contact, smell, touch. All organisms communicate: animals, plants, fungi and even bacteria.

We talk to communicate because we have developed complex language systems. This is a peculiarity of the brain of our species. Others also have this ability but not that exaggerated. Besides talking to have others do or not do something, we also engage in cosy talk, social talk, etc. However, the cosy talk is not always that cosy and the social talk heels more often than we care to admit to being anti-social. If language is a good tool to create understanding, it is by the same token the ideal tool to create misunderstanding. In conclusion, we would be better off shutting up more often.

Dogs don’t care for idle talk or social talk. They don’t have a keen interest in gossip or emotional bursts either. Dogs are pragmatic—if you don’t bother me and I don’t bother you, all is good. Dogs are connoisseurs of silence. Instead of so much talking, I’m convinced your dog would value immensely more a friendly glance or a tiny pacifying gesture. In other words: if you don’t have anything important to communicate to your dog, keep quiet.

Have a quiet, peaceful and beautiful day!


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Autor: Roger Abrantes

Born in Portugal, a citizen of the World. Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology, B.A. in Philosophy. Speaks seven languages. Present work: lecturing on Ethology and sailing and diving in Thailand (marine biology environmental management).