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 or maintain any desired outcome. 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 through signals with 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.

Talking is our primary communication means because we have developed complex language systems. That is a peculiarity of the brain of our species. Other animals also communicate with one another, though their communication is apparently not as sophisticated as ours. Besides talking to change or maintain the behavior of others, we also engage in cozy talk, social talk, gossiping, etc.. However, cozy talk is not always that cozy, and social talk leans more often than we care to admit to being anti-social.

If language is a useful 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.

Dog Owner Talking To Dog

We talk too much and say too little to our dogs. Photo by Harrington/ Flickr.

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 kind glance or a little 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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Author: 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).