Canine Master Blog

How Do Verbal Tones Influence Our Dogs?

Many mammals react to sounds and tones in similar ways. From horses and elephants to cats and dogs (the list goes on and on), sounds elicit similar behaviors. If we understand the influence they have and if used correctly, we can often times manipulate behaviors in our own dogs.

UnknownRepetitive sounds create movement in many animals. Horse trainers around the world will use a repetitive clicking sound to make the horse move or go faster.  Most People call their cats by repeating “here kitty, kitty, kitty”.  Many people get their dogs to come to them using repetitive clapping.  Quite the opposite, long singular tones tend to instinctively slow movement or stop it all together. How does one stop a horse? images”Whoa”! Interesting this is also a universal sound that many horse trainers use. A common way to call our dogs is “Tyler COME”!  By saying the singular tone “Come”, the dog instinctively wants to stop in his tracks.  I teach my students to say “Tyler, COME, COME,COME”.  It’s amazing how well it works.


The pitch of a tone also has a tremendous influence on animals particularly our dogs.  Deep tones or guttural tones tend to be threatening.  When giving praise to your dog, make sure it is not a guttural tone.  I can’t tell you how many times I see men praising their dogs using guttural tones.  Last week I saw a gentleman who explained to me that every time he praised his dog Roxy, she seemed frightened and cowered away.  So I asked him to demonstrate.  Sure enough, as soon as he started to praise Roxy, “Oh Roxy, what a good good girl” (it was about as guttural as it gets), she retreated under the dining room table and looked scared to death. It was the guttural tone of his praise that threatened and scared her.  As soon as I asked him to praise her in a higher pitch tone, Unknownlike he was talking to a baby, she quickly ran from under the table to greet him with her tail wagging. Praise should always be given in a high pitch (but not shrieking tone) like you are conversing with an infant or toddler. You may feel a bit silly talking to your dog this way, but you will generally get the reactions you desire.

images-1On a bit of a side note, dogs have tremendous hearing (much better then our own).  When you give a cue (or command) to your dog, you do not need to yell it.  They can hear you just fine by using a normal or almost quiet tone.  If you have to yell your cues, then either the dog does not know the cue or he does not care what you think, and that is another problem all together!

So next time you converse with you dog, think about tones you are using, and try to use them to your advantage.


(Original Article posted on blog)


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