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Part II: The Art of Speaking Dog

Apr 29, 2022
Dog Training Near Me

Using Your Voice With Your Dog

Say It Once

Know what else shouts “this is not that deep” when talking to your dog? Not expecting immediate results. 


If you’ve ever been told you have until the count of five to stop doing something and you stopped on one… well, you’re a better person than most. 


When your dog thinks it’s cool to wait until the third time to stop the unwanted behavior, then you’d better get used to repeating yourself. 


Speak a command one time and make it clear that you expect them to obey. 

Use One Word Per Action

Wanna hear something crazy? Studies have shown that dogs are capable of learning as many as 200 people words. IKR? But they don’t get the nuance that words that sound the same could mean something different. And they’re smart as fuck, but they still can’t read. That we know of.


So, we know that “their” and “there” don’t mean the same thing. At least most of us do. Grammar policing aside, we can still use context clues to figure it out.


Don’t give dogs context. Remember the spiel? Don’t do it. A command is not ten words.


Well, WTF, then? Adapt. They only hear that one word with no context at all. So, you have to limit that word to a very specific intended response. 


Decide that you want to use “off” to get your dog off the couch? Cool. Makes sense.


It also probably makes sense to use “down”, right? Get down. Same basic idea.


Ehh… not so fast. That was likely one of the very first training commands that your dog learned. The verbal cue, “down”, is going to get exactly the response that you already taught your dog will make you super happy. 


It’s going to lay down. On the couch.


Does speaking dog still seem like a cakewalk? No worries. It just takes a little consistency before using the right command becomes second nature.

Resist Using the Word “No”

A lot of self-help gurus these days like to stress the importance of no as a complete sentence. Hey, can’t argue. 


In many situations, when we tell other people no, they have a pretty good idea why. They know what to do instead. Probably go pester someone who doesn’t listen to self-help podcasts. 


That word doesn’t work the same way for dogs. When you tell your dog no, it might understand to stop what it’s doing. That’s a damn good dog. Smart, too.


But your dog is left kinda looking around wondering what the hell it should do now. If your dog is nosing a little too close to your dinner plate and you say, “no”? It thinks it’s being good when it moves on to the next available dinner plate. That sounds crazy, but in dog language, your dog just obeyed you.


A better command might be “sit”, but there are many options. Always teach your dog the good behavior that you want to promote, rather than just reprimanding the crap behavior. 


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