How Should You Talk to Your Dog?

Yes, you can talk to your dog. In fact, it's fundamental to do so in order to train him and teach him commands.
How Should You Talk to Your Dog?

Last update: 24 January, 2019

One of the most common question dog owners have is how to communicate with their pets in order to train them and get them to do what they want. In this article, we’ll look at some key tips you should use to talk to your dog effectively, in order to facilitate their training.

How to talk to your dog when training him

Communication plays a fundamental role in dog training. During your training session, you’ll want to make sure that your dog is concentrating well, and that he can clearly understand what you’re trying to tell him.

To do this, it’s important to use the right words to express each command or task. When you talk to your dog, it’s also important to learn how to use non-verbal language. This means using your body to communicate with your dog and to help with his training. 

These tips are designed to facilitate their training, but they’re also useful for your day-to-day communication with your dog.

Tips for effectively communicating with your dog

Getting your dog’s attention

Before starting to train your dog, it’ll be important to grab his attention and make sure he’s focused. Ideally, your dog will have already learned to answer you when you call his name, or when you use some other basic command to call him.

If your dog is deaf, you can hit the ground lightly to get his attention. Deaf dogs are great at perceiving vibrations even though they can’t pick up on sounds. However, if you’re outdoors with a deaf dog, you should use a vibrating collar. These emit vibratory waves, not electric currents, to get their attention.

A woman talking to her dog.

If you need to get the attention of a dog you don’t know very well, try making quiet noises or using treats. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to teach him a command that will get him to come to you, making communication between you easier.

Choose a specific word for each command

Dogs have an amazing ability to understand the words we teach them. However, you have to remember that they mostly use body language to communicate. The only exception to this is when they bark, whimper or howl. So, because of this, it’s important to use clear, simple and objective terms when training your pet. 

Each command that you want to teach your dog should be one single word. It’s best to choose short words that are easy to pronounce and that won’t be easily confused with other words. Some trainers even choose to train their dogs using words from another language so as not to confuse the animal.

Use body language to communicate with your dog

During the training, each verbal order that you give should be accompanied by a clear gesture that symbolizes what you want to convey to your pet. For example, you might accompany the command ‘stay’ with an outstretched arm and your palm open at the height of your dog’s face.

To make your day-to-day training easier, you should learn how to interpret your dog’s body language and expressions in order to understand him better. Also, make sure to use your own body language to improve this communication process.

A woman showing how important it is to talk to your dog.

Teach one command at a time

Sometimes, we’re so amazed by our pet’s learning abilities that we want to teach them a thousand things at once. However, too many stimuli can confuse your dog, and will make it harder for him to understand each command.

When you talk to your dog and train him, it’s important that you only teach him one command at a time. Make sure you’re teaching him both the term and the gesture that you’ve chosen to accompany it. When you’ve done that, then you should only practice this command with your dog until he’s mastered it.

It’s a good idea to choose one day of the week to go over all the commands that he’s already learned. That way, your dog won’t forget or misunderstand any of the commands you may give him.

Never use violence to communicate or teach

At times, your dog will behave in ways that you just don’t like. This is especially true when it comes to puppies or newly adopted dogs that are still getting used to your home.

You should never use physical violence to reprimand a dog when he misbehaves. Negative methods, like scolding and punishment, will subject the animal to negative emotions, like fear and stress. These are dangerous and ineffective training methods, and they won’t help the communication with your animal in the slightest.

You should use positive reinforcement when training your dog on a daily basis. By rewarding him for his good behavior, you’ll be encouraging him to consistently improve. This will improve your bond with your pet as well as your friendship with him.

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