You know, our dogs are much more attuned to our body language than we realize. Believe it or not, they even enjoy copying us sometimes.
Try this: Catch your dog’s gaze and then wink at him or her, while saying, “Wink!” in a perky voice. Do it at least 10 times or so. I would be very surprised if your dog doesn’t quickly learn how to wink right back at you.
All my dogs have learned how to wink and so have most of the other dogs I’ve ever winked at. They’ll also copy you if you make your eyelids very droopy and sleepy as if you can hardly keep them open.
Do this when Max is lying down and looking at you, and I bet you that under relaxing circumstances, his eyes will get droopy, too, and he will probably even yawn and go to sleep. Under the right circumstances, you can actually use this as a technique to quiet down an overly excited dog.
I use it on my three foster Chihuahuas when I bring them to work and they start to bark too much—works like a charm. The beautiful girl in the accompanying photo is my first dog, Koro, winking at me way back in the ’80s.
It was Koro who first taught me that animals have rights—I wonder if she was thinking what a good pupil I was!