when dogs speak their truth, we should listen

Dogs don’t lie.

I’m not sure if they have ‘the ability’ to lie or not, but I have never met a dishonest dog. If there is one species that lives in the moment, truly in the moment, is honest, and speaks his truth, it is the dog.


I’ll be quite honest, I think I love dogs because they are the least confusing part of my life. There are no ulterior motives, no hidden agendas, no social game playing, no misunderstandings, no lies. Clear and direct with intentions. I can respect that, and perhaps strive to be more like that.

If Story is hungry and paws my knee to let me know, I believe him. He isn’t doing it to fake me out, or make me get up to inconvenience me, it is his truth. “I am hungry, you forgot about my lunch today.”

When Ocean goes out in the back yard with my husband, in the wee hours of morning, and barks at seemingly nothing, it would be super easy to yell at her. “Why are you barking at nothing?” But she isn’t barking at nothing, she is barking at things that scare her. Noises, shadows, and the place where the bear was on the back side of the fence last year. Her fears are real, and her voice is the only way to tell the world, “I am scared”. When she speaks her truth is is loud and noisy, but it is her truth, it is not for me to say “it’s OK, nothing is there”, because for her, those things are real and they are in fact there.

Franny has never lied about anything, in fact her truth can be brutally honest, like it or not. If she killed something, she intended to do it, no apologies. If she intended to scare something, she did. If you come into our home and she wags her tail and throws her head from side to side, she is filled with true joy to see you. Just you. Not what you may have brought for dinner, not what you smell like, not what you may talk about, or your adventures. She is filled with joy by you, your person, your essence, who you truly are. And this truth is palpable, you can feel it deep inside.


$eeker finds great satisfaction in work and his people. He has a strong personality, and a deep belief in himself. He might just be the poster child for ‘speaking ones truth’.

$eeker is about being himself, he is not concerned with being right.

He doesn’t try to manage our household feelings/emotions. If he pushed something over while playing, well then he pushed something over while playing, he doesn’t feel responsible for our emotional response, that is solely ours to deal with.

He is clear and direct. You cannot misinterpret his desire to snuggle, play, eat, sleep, work, or harass a neighbor dog through the fence.

He is kind, not malicious. But it doesn’t mean he is not intense. He is gentle with the elderly and children.ย  He plays like a rock star with Story. The only person that exists in any moment in time is the one he is working with or sleeping with.

At times, I think we must be so confusing for our dogs. We say one thing and then do another. We tell our dogs with our body language that things are not going to go well for them, yet our voice is sweet. we get distracted with thoughts about our day, yet our body language says ‘stay with me’. We are walking contradiction to be sure!

Story is beside me right now, deep in some dream. His tail is wagging and he is lightly chirping. Even now I believe he is telling his truth and it makes me smile from deep within.

Perhaps we should all take a lesson from our dogs in ‘speaking our truth’. And practice this lesson. Life would be so less confusing!


26 Comments Add yours

  1. What a lovely post! My dog Jimi is my best friend.

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      we all need best friends like this!

  2. Eleenie says:

    Great post Nancy, we really do need to believe what our dogs tell us ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Thanks Eleenie … hope the puppy birthday was a fun one!

  3. Eleenie says:

    Reblogged this on denobears and commented:
    Nancy writes some terrific posts, I especially love this one.

  4. What a beautiful post and wonderful reminder for us to be more true to ourselves and others, just as dogs do. It is a testament to them that they are able to understand and loves us with all our faults and contradictions.

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Sometimes I wonder if they will ever give up on us, as a species ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. You are so very correct. Dogs give so much and ask so little. They tolerate our confusing and contradicting actions without question, well perhaps sometimes a tilt of the head that says…….”okay I don’t get it, but I accept it” Beautiful post, especially the opening photo…..marvelous!

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      thank you … more photos to come as the sun starts to make it’s appearance and the light better!

  6. Beautifully written, poignant, honest and so true. We could all learn a thing or two from these sweet creatures.

  7. mtwaggin says:

    Here here and I have tears in my eyes right now. If only people where as honest and open as our dogs!

  8. dorannrule says:

    The photo heading is spectacular! And this is a post that is so true. Dog lovers instantly recognize dog lovers and our appreciation for each other is as real and honest as the dogs we love. I am so glad to have found a fellow dog lover in cyberspace. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Hi Dor,
      I agree, real and honest as the dogs we love. And it is a great way to love!
      ALl the best, Nancy

  9. That copuld be our Border Collie in the first shot..you have not really lived until you share your life with a Border Collie..Great post! I came over from mtwaggin:)

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Hi Far Side of Fifty (love that), yes I share mine with 4, and there is not a day that I don’t feel like I am living ๐Ÿ˜‰
      all the best, Nancy

  10. Hanne Bente says:

    I saw your link inside by Sherry.
    Glorious posts you have made / many wonderful posts you have on your blog.
    I am a BIG dog lover, for me, a dog is not just a dog, but a part of the family.
    Have a Danish Swedish farm dog Tilde on 3 1/2 years.
    Wish you a good day / good weekend ๐Ÿ™‚
    Hanne Bente http://www.hbt.finus.dk

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Hi Hanne,
      for all of the animals that live in our house, there is no dividing line, we are all on this journey together.
      All the best to you and Tide (love that name!)

  11. evelyn says:

    lovely said and so true… their honesty and loyalty are the main things i love about dogs!

  12. Beautifully told. Our Maggie was rescued by our cop son-in-law who found her tied to a stake in a lot, with two Cool-Whip bowls for food and water…both empty. For 10 years she’s been a treasured part of our family, honest to her core, and brave in defending us. But at night if she whines to go out and then trembles or whines, we accept that something might be beyond our vision, or maybe it’s a memory that scares her. Either way, it’s okay, and we stand beside her, prepared to protect her from the fear.

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Marylin, Maggie is very lucky to have you for her family!

  13. Jen says:

    Amen! I just helped a friend re-home her amazing young horse. Fear, frustration, and lack of knowledge set her up for failure. Myself and another friend handed her the knowledge and were ready to help her along every step of the way – all she had to do was say “yes”. Her unwillingness to “go there” & do the hard work sealed the deal. So I watched as my friend gave her “dream” horse away to another. Luckily, this horse won the lottery as she went to a person who had the tools and knowledge to develop this young horse – she’ll have a fabulous future. Two days ago I learned my friend was about to buy the exact same horse she just gave away! Same behavioral issues she couldn’t deal with, same physical injury caused by the behavioral issues and incompetent humans – unbelievable! Instead of choosing the appropriate horse, she’s choosing the “pretty” horse. If it were just people making stupid decisions about cars, fine. But horses and dogs don’t choose us, we choose them, and with that comes a hefty responsibility. I can not control others around me, or prevent stupid decisions, but I can speak up for those who can’t – so I emailed her a truth/reality check. I may have lost a friend, as she took it pretty hard, but I can sleep now. Dogs and horses don’t lie. The truth hurts sometimes, and is humbling…but that’s the gift. Very interesting how dog and horse training are not about “making my dog sit”, but it’s about never ending self improvement. You can’t improve if your unwilling to acknowledge the truth. Thanks Nancy for helping people and dogs strive for harmony ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Jen, you’re awesome. While it’s hard to ‘deliver’ a reality check, your words hopefully will either help her improve with her horses, or help her make better choices. If no person says anything, then the cycle continues. A thank you for being so amazing with all of the animals that are lucky enough to call you home!

  14. nutsfortreasure says:

    You said it perfectly JT is beside herself with joy when I re-enter her space she loves me as much as I adore her. I have always been this way with animals never giving it much deep thought only that I loved them and they me

  15. Nancy that was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I wish I could share with several friends on my FB.

  16. Michael says:

    beautiful post! I affirm everything you say, my companion animals Happy and Fergie always speak truth and are w=always real and fully present, unlike most people I know including myself…

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