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Tag Archives: Nonverbal communication

Training Tips ~ Tone of Voice

What tone of voice do you use when you call your dog? “Skip! Get over here! Skip! SKIP!” If you’re angrily yelling for your pooch and he’s not responding, maybe you should consider what’s happening. Think about it – if someone is shouting your name in an irritated manner, how excited are you to come running?

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Your tone of voice matters just as much, if not more than the words you’re using. A flat tone may elicit a flat response from your dog. And a grumpy voice certainly won’t encourage him to come running happily. Based on your tone, he may think he’s in big trouble when he gets there, and take his sweet time about it.

Properly training your dog to come when called, combined with a happy tone of voice, can work wonders for you. Your dog is definitely smart enough to learn individual words, but he’ll also listen to how you sound. With my own dog, I can say, “You bad thing. You are so naughty,” and tail wagging, he flops over for a belly rub. Why? Because my tone is soft and friendly, and he feels only happiness and security. But if he’s in trouble, all I have to do is say, “Uh, oh,” in the right tone, and his ears go down, his tail goes down, and he takes a submissive “I’m sorry” pose.

So be aware of your own tone of voice, especially when getting your dog to respond to a recall. And when he comes when called, always respond with lots of praise.

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