How Important is Depth and Tone of Voice in Training? How do You Use Your Voice?
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Thread: How Important is Depth and Tone of Voice in Training? How do You Use Your Voice?

  1. #1
    Dog Paddle is offline Senior Member
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    Jul 2012

    DefaultHow Important is Depth and Tone of Voice in Training? How do You Use Your Voice?

    I was taught in early classes that depth and tone of voice was very important in dog training:

    Discipline - deep, rumbly, stern voice. Maybe even angry sounding.

    Commands - medium tone, authoritative, calm and short words.

    Praise - high pitched, squeaky, excited voice.

    I read that men were better at discipline and commands because they had naturally deeper voices. I learned that women made up for their lack of a naturally deep voice by being better able to modulate their tones. Ie. women could make their voices deeper to contrast with their natural voice and women could make the different tones though not as deep as men.

    Then I met my first agility trainer who wanted all our commands to impart fun. They weren't to be commands they were to be invitations to fun, fun, fun. I remember her saying to someone who asked for a deep, dragged out DOWWN, "higher voice, make it exciting, Down can be fun too." She was right, I think, it did work for most dogs.

    I remember a trainer saying, "Speak up, he can't hear you." And another one saying, "Whisper to catch your dog's attention."

    I myself have found laughter a very effective way to chastise my dog. I typically use laughter when he barks. "Ho, ho, ho, you big dummy, that's nothing to bark at. You make a mistake."

    I also believe body language plays a huge role in communication with our dogs. If I am not standing up straight and confident as if I am sure of what I am doing and what I want then the loudest, deepest command won't likely work as well. But if I do I can whisper. SIT

    Comments? What works for you? Do you find what works varies with the pooch you are working with?

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  3. #2
    mitziandjudysmom's Avatar
    mitziandjudysmom is offline Senior Member
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    Feb 2009
    NE Ohio


    ^ All so true. It's often hard to command them to stop barking probably because they are excited and don't listen then, but I found that if the ususl command "quiet" doesn't work, put it another way in a phrase they never heard before like "Put a Lid on it!" or any other unusual phrase. Sometimes that makes them stop probably thinking "What???" Also don't always stick with the same command word that's not working. For example, I found that "Drop It!" doesn't work as well as "Spit it out". Don't know why but go with whatever works.

  4. #3
    cillovely is offline Senior Member
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    Mar 2013


    Although my pup is only 4 months one of the things that he seems to work with better is hand signals vs. verbal commands. When I want him to sit, I say sit but also make an "L" with my fingers. To lay down is index finger and thumb folded down so the remaining three fingers are out and motion downwards. I haven't tried the hand signals without the voice commands yet. Husband trained him on these so maybe it has something to do with the voice like you said.

    I know the deeper voice works on my 5 year old son more than my higher pitched one

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  6. #4
    ArianneSayWhat is offline Junior Member
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    Jun 2013


    As of right now at 11 weeks, Nala seems to get the difference between my "praise" voice and "correcting" voice. I could literally be saying "No!" but if I say it in the same tone of voice as when I praise her, she gets all excited and starts licking me happily.

    However, if I say "No!" sternly she'll lay down and she does this thing with her eyes and her head that I can't really explain but it literally looks like "I'm sorry." Within a few minutes she'll inch herself toward me (still laying down) and tries to lay her head on my feet. It's like she knows she's in time out and is testing how far she can go. Lol

  7. #5
    Eresh is offline Senior Member
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    Jun 2013


    For me, I find that my body language is most important, and my tone of voice is a close second. Of course first having their attention is paramount. I also find that different dogs respond differently to praise. Some need a LOT of enthusiasm, while others are thrilled with a smile and soft "goood".

  8. #6
    kassabella's Avatar
    kassabella is offline Senior Member
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    Apr 2009
    Wellington New Zealand


    I use hand and verbal command and signals.Praise is high pitch very excited. I use differnet tones and differernt body language.

    I was told they respond better to men as their voices are deeper. I have a quiet voice and if they are playing up for someone I just need to say "Hey" and their ears go up and they settle.

    A trainer once told me not to say please when I issued a command. When I thought about it, that is probably what I did. Took ages to get it.
    I think body language helps too. Or does with mine. I have a technic I learned when one wants to run off or need to stop them now. I take a deep breath,from way down low and in a deep stern tone call the comman. Depending on why I am calling I give the emergency hand signal or do this immediately command.
    I only get one shot so my timing has to be spot on as I can't do it twice. Works every time.

    I think all dogs and owners are different so for me it is working out what suits me and my dogs best.
    Last edited by kassabella; 06-09-2013 at 11:06 PM.

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  9. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Nova Scotia, Canada


    Our big guy won't listen to me at all when my Hubby is home, and responds better to Jackson then Jack if he is distracted or in trouble. He also responds better to "come'er" or "come'on" and "bed" for lay down (that is my fault for not correcting what I wanted when we brought him home), he listens very well for never having any sort of training before we adopted him.

    Our little girl will be 10 weeks tomorrow and 75% of the time responds to sit and 60% of the time to stay and 90% of the time for come, but I am finding the same thing as with her has with Jack once Hubby is home I am chopped liver. When he isn't home though she responds best when I use a firm voice, and I correct what I want her to do if she won't do it. (I am also using hand signals with her), sit-I push her bum down till she sits {if she won't listen} with my hand in front of me index finger pointing down, stay- we just keep putting her back in the spot in the living room we have designated as hers every time she runs away from it {every 4 or 5th time we take her out for a pee and a run around the yard b/c sometimes it's cause she needs to go and other times she's being silly but better to be safe than sorry} and told her to stay and when she stays she gets praise,hand signal is hand in front like saying stop, for come I call "Febie come" and my hand is beside me with my index finger pointing down, now I am working on laydown and I slowly push her into the laying down while saying it and praise as soon as the position happens, and my signal is open hand but palm to the ground.

    I am also using hand signals with Jack now because who says you can't teach an "old" dog new tricks.
    Jackson (3 years old) and Febie (b. March 27,2013)

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