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  • Writer's pictureThree Dimensional Dog

Can you spot this dog's hidden manipulation?

Dogs are master manipulators of human beings, and many of the manipulations they use on people are beyond our conscious awareness. This means that we are unknowingly being controlled by our dogs in various ways throughout the day. A key to a harmonious relationship is to establish boundaries for these manipulations. We must recognize them and counter them whenever possible.

First, examine this photo carefully. Can you spot the hidden manipulation? I'll give you a hint: the dog was not asked to stay in his bed to the left. He simply chose to walk over to this place and lay down. Also, his guardian is sitting to the right of the image. That said, what is the manipulation being used here?

Figured it out yet? Read on to find out if you were right!

The purpose of manipulations are multifaceted. In particular, manipulations are designed to affect our decision-making; to cause us to choose differently from what we originally intended. Also, they are designed to control a world the dog feels has gone out of control. Manipulations are presented to us as physical, intellectual, and emotional controls. These are the three dimensions of manipulation. So, to answer the quiz, you have to assess how this dog is controlling this situation.

Scroll down for the answer!

Answer: He chose to lay here because it is an intersection of 6 different traffic areas in the home. Thus, the foyer is the most strategically important area of this entire home, and he knows it. He chose to lay here in order to impede, direct, or control traffic flow in order to set boundaries for others. It is a covert, passive manipulation that is hidden in plain sight.

If you guessed it, good job! If not, you are not alone. Rarely are such subtleties examined in dog behavior. But, if you want to be the best dog parent, you must become the master of manipulation! Recognize the game so you can play the game.

To counter this manipulation, we should direct the dog to his bed and expect him to stay. This will effectively open up the traffic flow and help this dog to become less vigilant towards guests in the home.

If you are interested in learning how your dog controls you in ways that are beyond your conscious awareness, grab a copy of Three Dimensional Dog, A Unified Theory of Canine Behavior.

Aaron McDonald is a canine cognitive behaviorist, cognitive theorist, and author.  He can be reached via

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