Canine Supervision: Natural Law According to Your Dog

For the safety and wellbeing of the household no human should be allowed to work except under the close supervision of one or more canine supervisors.

Because of the pitiful lack of basic sensory functions in humans such as the hyper-developed sense of smell common to all dogs, the dogs’ superior hearing, greater speed, enhanced agility and their positions closer to ground level and potential dangers; humans should never be allowed to work, except under their canine’s direct supervision. Not only is it the duty of the canine to protect his human from physical dangers, it is also their duty to help prevent psychological distress and generally keep their humans out of trouble.

A practical question that a dog might ask if he could would be, “The last time you got into serious trouble that was not caused by some natural disaster, was your dog with you?” The answer is most likely not. The proper care of canine companions demands attention, activities and provides less time for humans to get themselves into trouble as when left to their own devices. If a human action is so bad, or embarrassing, that you would not even want your dog to witness the act, then that action is probably something to be avoided.

The Old Nose Knows

As a dog develops from puppyhood to become an adult animal, his scent memory bank is enormously expanded. Just as a scent can remind a human of some past event which might even include a visual memory play-back of the event, canines have this skill in spades. So it is not surprising that when he smells the scent of a rattlesnake in the woodpile, the dog will react instantly with loud and persistent barking until the matter is dealt with to his satisfaction. He has learned this from watching the reactions of older dogs, which is why a pup is best raised with an older dog rather than alone. He will also retain such memories to advanced old age.

My dogs and I live in a rural area of Georgia where we have a variety of harmless and poisonous snakes. I commonly go into the woods cleaning up my trails or doing some other pre-hunting season related activity, and more than once my dogs have informed me of a potential danger that they detected by scent before either of us could see anything. Predatory reptiles take full advantage of their natural camo. Their scale pattern is so effective that one maker even offered hunting clothes with a diamondback rattlesnake pattern. While this was apparently a turn-off for those who have an inbred fear of all things related to snakes, seen from an objective point of view the camo was as effective for people as it was for snakes.


Criticism is a vital part of the supervisory function. The Canine administrating of such criticism may be done by voice, by look or by action. Growls are perhaps the easiest to recognize as they obviously indicate that dog is not in agreement with what is usually an overt provocation. Repeated sharp mono- syllable barking indicates that whatever the dog considers a threat is close at hand and the frequency and duration of the barks says that urgent action is needed. A questioning “woof” means that the dog does not understand what he is seeing, smelling or mentally processing. A whine indicates that the dog wants his human to do something, like maybe give him a good tail scratch.

Like humans and most non-insect creatures, dogs have muscles in their faces which provide expressions which may be read and the additional advantage of having flexible ears which give them another means of expressing doubt, anger, amusement, attention, pleasure and surprise. In addition they can communicate with their tails with various postures of the tail and wags offering instant insights into their thoughts. A downward tail between their legs denotes shame, upright and curled means dominance, a rapid circular wag denotes happiness and often the pleasure of seeing a friendly person or another dog. A side-to-side wag means, “I’m O.K., are you?”

Whole dog posture also indicates criticism. A dog standing stiffly with tail erect and growling means, “I am defending what is mine. Come closer and we fight.” This can be considered the maximum warning that will immediately followed by a furry of teeth and claw directed towards your face and neck. A physical assault is the ultimate manifestation of canine supervision.

While humans may believe that they are the dominant members of the household, and indeed do have many significant responsibilities, paying proper attention to your canine supervisor/s will often lead to a more trouble free and fulfilling life.

Author's Bio: 

Wm. Hovey Smith is a registered Professional Geologist in Georgia. He is also a member of several writers’ organizations including the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA) and the Georgia Outdoor Writers Association (GOWA). He is the author of 18 books with his most recent title being “Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife.” He has been a radio host and does public speaking on work and environmental topics with appearances in the U.S., Europe and China. He is an active blogger and the producer of over 725 YouTube videos on outdoor and business topics.