If you want to have a closer relationship with your dog, one of the best things you can do is to improve your dog communication skills. The better you understand your dog's communications and its dog nature, the better you will be able to nurture its dog personality and create a tighter bond.
Does your dog ever do something that leaves you scratching your head and wondering, "Why did he (or she) do that?" If so, you're not alone. Dogs tell us important things all the time, but sometimes we don't "get the message."
A dog's actions often speak louder than words. The trick is to figure out what the actions mean. It can be obvious. For example, when your dog sits and begs while you're eating a piece of steak, there's no mystery in the message. But most dog communications are much more subtle than that. Sometimes you can "break the code" by paying careful attention to your dog's breeding.
Retrievers like to retrieve. Herders like to herd. Hunters like to hunt. So if you want to understand your dog's body language behavior, it's a good idea to understand what it was bred to do.
If you've ever watched the Westminster Dog Show, you've heard the announcer read those wonderful descriptions of the different breeds. You can find those descriptions at the AKC's (American Kennel Club) web site: http://www.akc.org/breeds/complete_breed_list.cfm. Example: "The working ability that has made the Golden Retriever such a useful hunting companion also makes him an ideal guide, assistance and search and rescue dog."
My Golden Retriever, Jamie, used to stop in the middle of our morning jog. She had different reasons for stopping, but one of them was to make a polite request, "May I please pick up this pine cone and carry it the rest of the way home?"
One morning, my wife and I were jogging home, with Jamie, and I was carrying several rolled up newspapers. Jamie kept looking back at me. At first, we couldn't figure out what she was trying to say. My wife said, "She wants you to pay attention to her." So I stopped and gave her a friendly ear scratch. But she kept looking back at me.
Finally, my wife said, "Maybe she wants to carry the newspapers." I gave Jamie the papers, and that was it. She held her head up high and carried the newspapers the rest of the way home. But of course, she's a retriever.
If your dog does something you don't understand, consider its breeding. It may be telling you, "Hey, I just want to do the things I was bred to do."