Using Your Voice as a Training Tool

You just brought a new puppy into your household, and now you’re setting about training it. Aside from all the commands and specific techniques, a tool you may forget about is your actual voice. It is, after all, the platform from which all commands are being transmitted to your dog. Here, a Carmel vet advises you on using your voice properly as a training tool.


Tone is everything when it comes to obedience training. From a biological standpoint, your puppy associates deeper bass sounds with his mother’s authoritative nature, and associates higher-pitched sounds with his playful litter-mates. Therefore, you should use a lower, deeper voice for corrections and commands because your pup will find it more authoritative. If you’re encouraging or praising your puppy, though, a higher-pitched tone will be effective.

Don’t use a high-pitched whiny sound for commands—your puppy will simply not take it seriously. Conversely, don’t use a deep voice for praising, as it might confuse your pet. Ask your vet if the tones you use are good for training your puppy.

Avoid “Please”

Don’t command your puppy to “please come” or “please heel.” Your puppy doesn’t know what “please” means, of course, but we’re so used to saying the word in a higher-pitched, begging type of voice that it won’t convey authority. It’s easier and more effective to simply say “come” or “heel” in a deep, consistent tone. Ask your veterinarian to recommend an animal trainer that can help you with different commands.

Be Firm, Not Loud

While you want to sound authoritative and in control, never be too loud. Don’t yell or shout, as this will only frighten your puppy and be counterproductive to what you’re trying to achieve. Use single, firm words (“come,” “heel,” “sit”) and be clear, but don’t be overly loud. Your Carmel veterinarian can demonstrate proper volume levels and give you tips on single-word commands.

As puppy owners, we need to practice our tone and commands just as much as our puppies need to practice carrying them out. Don’t be afraid to ask your vet for help, or for the number of a certified animal behaviorist, if you’re having trouble. Be consistent, speak clearly, and be firm: with patience and diligence, proper obedience training will pay off!


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