By Karen A. Soukiasian
Your dog training voice — both tone and volume — is the most important tool you have to communicate your feelings with your dog.
Words for the most part, until your dog learns an association, are just “blah, blah, blah” to your dog. But how you say the words in your dog training voice sends them the clear message.
Your tone and volume project pleasure, pride, love, disappointment, concern, sadness, caution and correction.
The correct volume is vital. If you are constantly yelling at your dog, more likely than not, they have tuned you out. Speak to them in a normal tone of voice, so should there be an emergency and you have to raise your voice; you will get their attention immediately!
Really want to get their attention while training? Whisper. Watch their expression!
Dog training voice: 5 distinguishing tones
- Cheerful (higher volume, high pitched – silly, happy) – Expresses fun, and/or your pleasure and pride in your dog’s behavior. Your dog will respond with their head high, ears perked and tail wagging. They learn to associate that certain behavior they just performed, with bringing you pleasure. It is a simple and clear message.
- Soft and reassuring (lower volume, higher pitch – soothing) – Expresses your love and concern. Your dog associates with bonding.
- Disappointed (lower volume, lower pitch – commanding yet friendly) – Your dog associates your disapproval with a certain behavior. You will notice your dog’s head and ears drop and their tail is lowered or tucked.
- Firm (lower volume and lower pitch – authoritative, serious) – Give commands and correction once, in a firm tone of voice. It gets your dog’s attention and respect. Use it when you give a command, and/or have to make a correction, in such a way your dog will be focused on you. Your dog will get the message, “Better do it right now!” or “Oops, I just blew it!”
- Caution – (higher volume and pitch may be high or low)- Catches your dog off guard. Gets your dog’s attention immediately. Expresses watchfulness. Do no over use this! It will lose its effectiveness if overused. Save it for only extreme or dangerous situations.
Find the right tone for your dog
The difference in the tone and volume of the voices of male and female during training plays a huge role in how many dogs respond to their owners.
Men often have to learn to raise the pitch of their voice, to show a positive response and lower the volume to get their dog’s attention.
Women often have to learn to lower the tone of their voice, to project a more authoritative, firm message and raise the volume so their dog can hear them!
To effectively communicate with your dog, learn to control the volume and tone of your voice, so your dog will learn to respond accordingly.
Bottom Line: Your volume and tone of voice are fundamental in training your dog. Be prepared to back it up with action. When you are pleased with your dog’s behavior, bend down or squat, and with open arms, welcome them and show them how happy or proud you are of them.
When giving a command or making a correction, stand tall, look as big as possible. Always be consistent and project the image, good or bad, YOU are in charge! Try it…it works!
Follow Karen A. Soukiasian on Facebook