The other day we had stopped at Dunkin Donuts while on the way to a Dog Guard Out of Sight Fence installation in Naples. While we were in the middle of our iced teas and donuts (yum!), another donut patron approached us with a question. “I see that you have “Dog Guard” on the side of your truck, are you dog trainers?” We replied that besides installing dog containment systems, we have trained over 3,000 dogs. “Great!” he replied. “I am trying to get my dog to sit, but he doesn’t want to. I say SIT, SIT, SIT; and he just gives me a blank stare. I then get mad and really yell at him, but still nothing happens. Is he just stupid?”
As dog trainers, we run into this situation where the owner places the blame on the dog when this is rarely the case. What has happened here is that my “donut friend” has run into the classic disconnect regarding how people communicate and how dogs communicate. People have words, languages, synonyms, punctuation, antonyms, abbreviations, and a whole lot of other ways we verbally transmit ideas and commands between each other. We can describe the same item or action in multiple ways that we all understand and can agree upon.
We have to understand that dogs do not have “all those verbal’s” that we have. Dogs do not have dictionaries where the same word might have multiple meanings and a list of five other words that mean the same thing. All our dogs have are the sounds and tones that come out of their mouths. We might call it growling, yipping, or barking. That is all our dogs have when they verbally communicate with other dogs, other animals, and us.
If we want to verbally communicate with our dogs, we first have to understand that words are simply sounds and for a sound to be understood, that sound can only have one, unique meaning. Think of hearing an emergency vehicle’s siren while you are driving down the road. We hear that siren and we immediately understand that there is a police car, fire truck, ambulance, or other emergency vehicle near us that needs to get somewhere fast. We look for the vehicle and make sure it can pass. The unique sound of the siren invokes a unique response from us.
That is dogs verbally communicate. If we want to have our dog sit, we must have a unique sound that will always tell our dog to put his bottom on the ground. Most people use “Sit”. This means that you will only say “Sit” once when you want him to sit. Do not say “Sit, sit, sit, sit” because that is now a different sound.
You must use unique sounds with your dog to have him understand you. For more information about verbal canine communication dog training or out of sight dog fences and containment systems, please contact The Best Out of Sight Dog Fence Trainers in South Florida.