Getting your puppy to listen to you

by Vivien Richardson on June 28, 2012

Your puppy will never really know what you are saying, it is the tone of the voice that really speaks to the dog and helps him to understand what you mean. You can probably see this in your dog’s reaction if you call your dog a ‘bad puppy’ in a kind tone of voice, such as the one you usually use to praise your puppy.

For this reason, to get your dog to react in the way that you want, you really need to make sure that you use the correct tone of voice. For instance, if you are trying to command your dog to ‘stay’, ensure that you use a tone that is firm and that you say ‘stay’ in a short, abrupt way. Shouting ‘stay’ in a long, drawn-out way, with your intonation rising at the end of the word, poses this as more of a question and your dog may not react as well.

When teaching your dog to listen to your commands, you must also combine the words and tone you are using with the action that you want the dog to take. Of course, use positive reinforcement by praising your dog when they get the action right. Teaching your dog to listen to you when you say his name, for instance, should involve calling your dog’s name in a cheerful tone and then moving him to look in your direction when you say it. This can be done either by giving his ear or lead a gentle tug. When the puppy looks at you, ensure that you praise him in a tone matching the words ‘good dog’.

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