Communicating with your dog is vital for a happy and rewarding relationship, and the communication has to go both ways. You have to learn to ‘speak dog’ and spend a little time training your dog with verbal and non-verbal communication. Here are some tips to help you learn to communicate what you want to your dog, and to help you understand what your dog is communicating to you.
Keep commands short and simple. Dogs can be trained to learn and understand hundreds of words, but those hundreds of words can only effectively be used to communicate with your dog by using one or two words at a time. For instance, I will get the desired response from my dog if I simply say; “come”, or if I call my dog’s name and say “come”. If I attempt to communicate a long sentence, I would not get the desired results.
For me to speak, “Skippy, get over here beside of me right this minute and sit down”, would only cause my dog to look at me blankly. I had spoken his name first, and he had responded to my communication accordingly: he looked at me, waiting for my next one or two word communication. All the other words strung together after I spoke his name were indiscernible to my dog. Dogs have the ability to be trained to learn and respond to each one of those words separately, but to string a long sentence of communication together is greater than a dog’s comprehension skills.
Don’t repeat yourself. Voice commands should be spoken just once for maximum effect. Dogs have better hearing than humans, they also have a short term verbal communication memory, they can remember what you said for up to two minutes. If your dog does not respond to your command, your ‘dog speak’ is wrong and your dog is bored, or your dog just simply not listening.
Dog speak does not always mean calling something by it’s proper name, dog speak is communicating with words or gestures that your dog will respond too. While one dog may respond to the word ‘treat’, another dog may respond better to the word, ‘yum-yum’.
Communication training for you and your dog is simply one word or one gesture that is linked to a specific action or object. Dogs understand not only words, but body language, gestures and voice tones.
Your dog is also trying to communicate with you, he has his own verbal and non-verbal dog speak that you can be trained to understand. The tone of your dog’s bark will communicate volumes to you, the bark tone will communicate happiness, fear, hunger, warnings, etc. to you if you train yourself to pick up the slightly different tones in the dog’s bark.
Non-verbal communications of ‘speaking dog’ is learning what your dog is telling you by the angle at which he is holding his tail or wagging his tail. It could mean excitement, it could mean fear, depending on individual dogs. Any dog that is wagging their tail and growling is communicating to you to back off.
There are many other ways that your dog is trying to non-verbally communicate with you, train yourself to ‘speak dog’ with these training tips so you can have a rewarding relationship with your dog.
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