Dogs Don’t Speak English - By Glenda Herrin, ABC Mentor Trainer & Owner Of Heeling Hounds

Saturday, January 30, 2010 : 12:37:39 PM
Updated Friday, August 12, 2011 : 10:59:16 AM
Or German. Or Swahili. Or Portuguese! We human beings are so accustomed to communicating through verbal language that it’s difficult for us to comprehend that dogs don’t understand English! Owners will attempt several versions of the same command to try and get a dog to comply without realizing that yelling 14 different versions of “Come here!” (“Come! Get over here! Hey, Sparky! Come on! You better get in here! Come on over!” etc.) makes no sense to the dog no matter how many different ways you put it if you haven’t taught the dog what those words mean. If I were to tell you in German, “Dort bleiben! Nicht bewegen! Stehen bleiben!”—would it help that I told you three different ways to “Stay,” or maybe tried yelling it louder and louder? It’s the same with a dog—he will hear you speaking (or yelling), cock his head like the RCA mascot, and wonder what on earth all those sounds mean. Dogs communicate primarily through the sense of smell, through energy, and through body language. Unless we attach meaning to words by teaching dogs what the sounds mean, they will not magically respond to a command just because we yell it over and over or louder and louder.

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