This is Leo, my Siberian Husky. He is 1 year old in this picture.
Today, we are going to explore briefly how humans can communicate with animals in a more efficient way.
The key to animal communication is body language. We humans are not taught early on how to decipher body language cues of other humans, let alone animals. Animals, on the other hand, are taught early on by their animal parents how to communicate using body language. Of course they verbalize and vocalize too, but that is primarily a secondary means of communication for them. Mainly, they do it with their bodies.
Over millions of years, we humans have evolved in a very unique way. We have somehow put our body language skills in the background, and have developed sophisticated language skills, writing skills, a well developed sign language and even Braille, a language for the blind. So we humans have really surpassed most animals in our communication skills.
That has created a unique situation: We have drifted even farther from our animal relatives. There is a huge gap between animals and humans.
Because the animals cannot speak like us, we don't understand them well. We treat them coldly. We presume they do not have emotions, they do not have feelings, they do not feel pain, they do not have consciousness, and we also presume they do not have a soul! (Well, let us not go there because that is a topic for religion experts to handle, a topic which is not even being debated anywhere).
So, to communicate effectively, we have to first bridge the gap that exists between humans and animals.
The first step for bridging the gap is to go back to basics: Either we learn animals' body language, or we teach them our language, or we do both, or we meet anywhere in between.
I believe it is much easier for us to learn animals' body language, and you will be surprised to know the reason!
The reason is that we have almost the same body language skills that the animals have. See, over millions of years we Homo sapiens have been living with the animals, sharing our habitat, homes, and even hearths. So what do you think, we humans were spending all those millions of years NOT communicating with the animals? Absolutely not! We did not have a spoken language of our own, and neither did the animals. So we humans developed skills to recognize cues in the bodies of our animal relatives. We were able to see the great similarities between the body's reaction to different stimuli: the reactions of animals and humans were the same.
We started to see the facial expressions of the animals, their breathing pattern, their pupil size, their hair coat; are the hairs standing on end, or are they lying close to their skin. Are the ears perked up, or are they hanging down. Is the tail in between the legs, or is it raised. Is the tail bushy or is it plain. Is the animal digging and scratching the soil with his front feet? Is he showing his teeth? Is he snarling? How is he behaving when he is sick? Is he keeping his head down? Is he keeping his eyes closed? Is he laying down? Is he vomiting? Is he scared stiff? Is he jumping around and is obviously happy? Is he mimicking us humans?
In ancient times, we saw how the animals approached other animals. We learned from them. They learned from us. We saw how they approached strange animals, how they approached enemy animals, how they approached or ran away from dangerous or bigger stronger animals. We saw they protected their offspring just like we did. And how did they do it? They stood right in front of their offspring and warned us by snarling at us or showing us their teeth, or barking or howling at us.
We did the same to other stranger humans! We made friends with some, we became enemies of others. We protected our offspring.
In this scenario, many animals became our friends. Descendants of wolves, dogs became our friends: we gave them shelter and food, they led us to our food so we could hunt it!
So, my point is that we humans can go back to basics and try to learn how animals communicate with their body language. We have to observe keenly the minute changes in posture, expression, breathing pattern, pupil size, hair position, tail position, approach, and a thousand other less obvious things in an animals body to properly read his thoughts. Then we will respond more kindly, more bodily rather than with spoken word, and will become more in tune with an animal's feelings. This will not only make us better friends of animals, it will make us better humans: since other humans will inherently recognize our most inborn feelings being expressed through our bodies without saying a word. And when we will use spoken language, it will be in total reconciliation of what we would be expressing with our body language. The world would be a better place, there will be more love: not just amongst humans and animals, but also between humans.