Dog Expressions: a walk through the park

There is some interesting new research that discusses learning theory and the way our dogs look at us.  One of the dogs that I share my life with is Jade and she “wears her heart on her sleeve” as we humans like to say.  I know that Jade learns very quickly.  Is she a quick learner because she has such expressive and attentive eyes?  I don’t know. Charlie doesn’t have any eyes at all and he learns pretty quickly too!

I thought you might enjoy shadowing us on a walk though the the local public gardens. As we go on this walk you will be able to see the beauty of the gardens as well as some of Jade’s expressions. It was a rare opportunity for me to capture so many photos in one day!

The first stop on our walk was at the fountain. This fountain is magnificent. It has several levels of water falls for maximum effect of splash.  Ducks and kids love this fountain!

Jade was distracted by a tractor that was leveling the path
Jade was distracted by a tractor that was leveling the path

While we were at the fountain a tractor distracted Jade.  It was big and loud and didn’t belong in “Jade’s Garden!” She didn’t trust the big blue machine that was moving dirt around so she was keeping a very close eye on the loud tractor!

Jade couldn’t keep her eyes off of the tractor

Even at the base of the fountain Jade couldn’t let go of the thought that the tractor didn’t belong in her gardens! She was definitely watching where the tractor went!

We continued our walk down the main path. We had some fun walking on stone walls as well at the path itself. Jade liked jumping on and off of the walls.  Jade even had fun posing up on some high places. Or did she?

Jade perched up on a high wall

Our next stop was the terraced gardens. This area is the most famous part of the garden as it can be breathtakingly beautiful.  This area is usually very crowded so it was a treat to be able to have it mostly to ourselves during our walk.

Jade had just visited with some folks

Even though Jade is officially retired as a therapy dog she often “works” when we go on walks. These encounters are not the same intensity as when Jade would go on visits in the hospital, but the visits are important to the people Jade meets.  Sometimes Jade helps a child who is sad,  or college students who are anxious about exams or maybe they are just missing their own dogs.  During this particular walk Jade  visited with a woman who had been wanting a dog for “oh so long” and was really happy to meet Jade – “a presidential dog, you know!” She explained all about Portuguese Water Dogs to her walking companion. These short and relatively stress free visits are the kind Jade likes to have!

People Watching

Jade loves to people watch!!   I think her head can rotate all around her body!! Usually her body is soft when she is people watching. She is just being curious and knows she isn’t supposed to be in their space so she stays put and rotates her head… it is fun to watch Jade people watch!

Enough already with this spot!

I think Jade  gets bored or maybe she just doesn’t like some of the places that I pick for taking pictures.  Sometimes she picks her own spots for photos – that is always fun! When we go on a walk it is best to be prepared with the camera!

Looking at you
Looking at you

I think these this photo and the next one are my favorite ones of the photos taken during our walk. Why?  Jade is relaxed, not tense, she invites interactions, and she is attentive.  I also love the splash of color behind her.  There are several more photos that show more of Jade’s expressions. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

hello friend

I melt every time I look at this photo!

Ut-oh… Jade is taking someone to task here

I’m not sure if Jade is saying “you didn’t do something right” or if she is saying “explain that again because I’m confused.” Either way this looks lets me know that something isn’t quite right and I need to watch out when I see this look. There are times when I think she is considering lecturing me after I see this look!  Bottom line, with Jade this look is a critical look….

Always plenty to say

It’s fun (but not at 2:00 am) when you have a dog that likes to let you know what they are a thinking dog and have a lot to say.  Jade definitely has a lot to say!

I want to smell that flower….

Ever want to give a voice to your dog? In this instance I can imagine Jade saying something like “I know you want me to sit still, but I really want to smell the flowers… oh so hard to sit still… I’m trying really hard. Maybe if I turn my head this way she won’t notice… She has such high expectations of me… what is a girl supposed to do??”

I’m thinking about it…

Fuzzy picture because Jade was moving, but the lip curl was worth showing even though the photo was fuzzy.  I can hear the voice every time I look at this picture “ah… no more pictures… it’s time to go”  Thankfully Jade doesn’t make this face very often! The next photo … it was a lip lick which means she really was ready to stop!

I need to relax… can we be done with the pictures mom?

At least that is how I took it when I saw she didn’t want to be still and was showing a bunch of stress signs.  So we stopped and walked around a little bit more – but then it started raining and she got her wish – walk through the rain and a ride home!

Here are two fun photos – one of Jade and one of Charlie – because I want the end of this post to have happy dogs not a stressed dog!


These two are definitely ready for more.  They aren’t “smiling” but they are ready for whatever life is going to bring next.  And just wait to see what life brings their way… sometimes good things come in small packages!

Hasegawa, M., Ohtani, N., & Ohta, M. (2014). Dogs’ Body Language Relevant to Learning Achievement Animals, 4 (1), 45-58

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