Bridging the Canine and Human Communication Gap

Confused Chihuahua dog - Communicating with your dog

By Michele L. Meyer

Are you having a hard time getting your dog to listen? Communication gaps often play a big part in our dog’s confusion and improper training. Some common examples are too much verbiage and inconsistent feedback. Talking to your dog in sentences gets translated as “blah, blah, blah”. Dogs understand best when we use just one or two syllables which is why all commands are just that such as sit, stay, come, and down. It’s also important that everyone who interacts with Fido is consistent in using the same commands.

Timing is everything! This is because dogs live in the moment and therefore need to be rewarded or corrected within two seconds of doing the behavior. A common example of this is when dogs go outside to go to the bathroom and then come in to get their treat. They will also expect a treat when they come in even if they didn’t go to the bathroom. This is because they think the reward is for coming in, which is a great thing to reward. However, to reward your dog for going to the bathroom, you would need to bring the treats outside with you and give him the treat within two seconds of him emptying.

The two second rule also applies for corrections. Your dog has no idea what you are correcting him for if you do not catch him IN THE ACT. Even five seconds afterwards is too late!!! Please see our article “The Two Second Rule” for more on this topic.

A well trained dog means more peace and enjoyment for everyone, including Fido. Dogs that are well mannered are able to be a part of social gatherings instead of being confined or left behind. Please contact us if you need help training your dog to be a welcomed guest at all your outings and festivities.