Communication Lessons from the Dog

Thanks for the lessons Halley and Orion!
Thanks for the lessons Halley and Orion!

It’s been a sad summer here. In the space of six weeks we have had to say goodbye to two of our dogs. As I think about all the things I enjoyed with Halley and Orion, I also realize that I also learned some communication lessons from them.

Three Communication Lessons from the Dog

Words aren’t necessary

One of my favorite sayings is “words are my life,” so this one is big for me. But, in his 16 + years with us our boy Orion proved over and over that words are just not needed to communicate. Ditto for our girl Halley.

These dogs let us know when it was dinner time and when a treat would be nice. They let us know when they wanted to play and when the game was getting boring. They let us know that they loved us. All without one word.

My dogs taught me the power of nonverbal expression to show happiness as well as displeasure. How a good look in the eyes can demonstrate sincerity. How just being there can show support and care.

Seize the moment

Dogs are creatures of now. When a treat is offered they eat it NOW. When there is a chance to play, they go for it. Dogs never put off for a moment what can be enjoyed now.

This makes me think about all the careful planning that goes into communication campaigns. Should communicators be more like canines and just dive in? Maybe it won’t be perfect, but there is time for adjustment as you go.

All about relationship

Many writers have explored the relationship between people and their dogs.  The hallmarks of those relationships provide good lessons for communicators:

  • What you do is more important than what you say
  • Always be there
  • A solid relationship can weather mistakes