Pro Tips: How to Talk to Your Dog, Part II—The Right Pitch


Major wants to understand, and you can help him.
Photo by Kate, Newton

There are lots of ways that we communicate with our dogs—with our eyes, through body language, and even through our moods—but speaking to them is how we train, correct, and praise them. The words that you choose and the ways that you say them can make a big difference in your dog’s ability to understand and obey. In the second part of our “How to Talk to Your Dog” series, we’ll look at how to use the pitch of your voice.

Use a low-pitched voice to convey authority. When you command your dog using a low voice, he’ll respond better. Using a low register tells him you are confident and serious; this is partly because a mother dog growls low and slow to control her pups. But lower does not mean louder—just drop your voice a decibel or two.

Use a higher pitch voice for praise. Men (or women with deep voices) should practice using a higher voice to encourage their dog, even if they feel silly. When you want to encourage your dog to continue what he is doing, use a high-pitched “Come on! That’s a good boy! You can do it!” The most effective trainers make their dogs enthusiastic by using a happy, energetic voice and speaking the dog’s name with high-pitched enthusiasm.

Click here for Part I—Command Words

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