Weitzman’s book, “How to Speak Dog,” was just released by the National Geographic Society and the veterinarian hopes it will help people better grasp what their dogs are saying so they can respond better.
When man first meets mutt, it is up to the person to eliminate hostility. In the exam room, Weitzman will often get on the floor with a dog to reduce any threats.
That has certainly worked for year-old Van Leifer-Nau of San Diego. That’s where he sits, sleeps, plays and dotes on year-old Neiko, a yellow lab and Saluki mix, said mom Tamara Leifer-Nau.
“Neiko loves this baby, it’s like Van is his baby. They love each other and Neiko goes in for as many kisses as he can get. They are inseparable. They are communicating at a completely different level,” Leifer-Nau said.
“Dogs read lips and body language. They can see your facial expression. Some animals respond to how we look, not what we say. Their inherent ability to read facial expressions is a whole lot better than ours,” Weitzman said.
The other dog in the Leifer-Nau house is Oakley, a border collie mix the family rescued 13 years ago this month. He goes to the door and literally talks dog when he wants out, Leifer-Nau said.
You have to make sure a dog can hear when you talk, Weitzman said. Some dogs are born deaf or go deaf with age. Long ears make hearing more of a chore. Those dogs also don’t have the ability to talk with their ears because they can’t prick them, cock them or pin them back.
“Every once in a while, a dog will come along that just seems to ‘get’ you. You think it even reads your mind,” Weitzman said. “I really think these animals are soul mates. I had a dog I know was my soul mate. I understood her with a look and she understood me with a look back.”