Deepen Your Relationship With Your Dog By Learning To Speak Her Language

Written by Victoria Stilwell

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Dogs—everyone’s best friends, am I right? The pet/caregiver relationship is such an important one, and communication is essential to every happy relationship. So how can we be sure our pets know how genuinely we want them to get down off that sofa, and how much they have to wait for a treat, and how deeply we adore them? By communicating with them in their own language. Here’s how!

Dogs can not only recognize the voices of people they know but also learn and remember that different vocal pitches and tones mean different things. Their physical reading skills can help them determine what human vocalizations mean, and because people tend to speak in higher pitches when they are being affectionate and lower pitches when they are upset or angry, it is easy for dogs to learn the difference and respond accordingly.

You can help your dog learn by being consistent with your vocal pitch as well as being aware of how to use tone when talking to your dog or giving cues. In general, the type of cue will determine the type of tone and pitch you use. You can use high-energy vocalizations to excite your dog into playing, for example, or to get your dog to come back to you when you call; use medium tones for everyday cues such as "wait" by the food bowl or "stay" by the front door when a guest is entering. You can use lower tones to tell your dog how you feel about a certain behavior, but take care not to frighten him into compliance.

The canine memory is so good that he will truly remember and recognize the difference!

How to Speak Dog:

High Tones = excited, affectionate, and playful

Medium Tones = everyday cues like "stay"

Low Tones = serious (use sparingly)

Based on excerpts from The Secret Language of Dogs by Victoria Stilwell, with the permission of Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2016.

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