Verbal Communications

Dogs are very verbal creatures. They whine, warble, howl, bark, and growl to communicate with one another and with us. We don't even have words to describe many of their sounds. An

Australian Shepherd male named Riker makes a sound that can only be mimicked: a "woo woo woo." Riker found that this sound made his owner laugh, and when she laughed, she paid attention to him. So, he uses it!

Sounds vary from breed to breed and among individuals. The howl of northern breeds is quite different from the howl of a coonhound treeing a raccoon, and the alarm bark of a Chihuahua certainly differs from the alarm bark of a Rottweiler. But miscommunications among dogs are rare, even though many seem to be speaking different languages, primarily because verbal sounds are never used alone; they are always used in conjunction with body language.

Dog owners can use verbal communications in much the same way.

♦ When asking your dog to do something, use a normal speaking voice; do not change your normal, comfortable body language.

♦ When the dog does something you have asked him to do, praise him in a happy "ice cream" tone of voice. Your dog language should be relaxed. Move your hands and arms up and down a little: a small play-bow. Keep eye contact soft, allowing your eyes to move naturally.

♦ If you catch your dog in the act of doing something he knows is wrong (not afterward, but as it is happening), deepen your voice (growl) and turn to look directly at your dog.

The goal of all verbal communication is to teach your dog to listen to you—not just when he wants to, but whenever you direct anything toward him. You want him to listen, not just when giving him commands but also when you need to tell him something to keep him from getting into trouble or to keep him safe.

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Responses

  • Virpi
    Which dog breeds are verbal?
    5 years ago

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