Using Your Voice for Training

PetMD Editorial
Written by:
PetMD Editorial
Published: April 13, 2011

Your voice is another vital tool which requires practice before obedience training can begin. The tone of your voice is especially important, as a young puppy is more likely to respond to the tone of your voice rather than to the actual command you are giving. And here’s why …

In the litter, the puppy associates deep/low canine sounds to its mother’s authority, while the high-pitched sounds used by the puppy’s litter mates meant fun and play. This means that you have to lower and deepen your voice to make corrections, for discipline, and during obedience training. Conversely, a higher pitched voice should be used for conveying encouragement, praise and when you are training her to follow commands such as “come” and “heel.”

These guidelines for using your voice during training are meant to discourage you from making the mistake of sounding like you are whining during training. Your dog will not look up to you as a leader if your commands consist of “heel-heel-heel” or “please heel.” It will sound like you are whining. Another common mistake is then pairing your inconsistent command with a tone of voice that sounds like you are begging your puppy to obey you, amounting to what sounds to the puppy like a “puppy voice.”

You must sound authoritative to your puppy. You are the “big dog” of the house, and you must view yourself that way if you want a well behaved and well socialized dog.

At the same time, your voice must not be too loud. Avoid yelling at your puppy, as she will only be frightened and will not be able to react accordingly. It is a waste of your energy to shout at your puppy when you can just as easily make her obey using a firmly worded command.  

After much consistent practice with your puppy, using a clear voice in the right tone and pitch while handling the leash properly, you will be able to give commands only once with an expectation that your puppy will immediately follow the command.

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