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Three Important Rules of Pet Communication

Your dog doesn’t speak English, and you don’t speak Dog, but you can still communicate effectively with each other. Your vocal tones and body language communicate volumes, but you should know that there are some instincts you might have that could set you back in your training.

These are rules of pet communication that everyone should follow.

1. Don’t use your dog’s name to stop them from doing something.

Dogs get excited by the sound of their own name. It’s usually a sound they recognise, and they likely associate it with pleasing their owner! Being mindful to always use your dog’s name in a light and pleasing tone means they are more likely to happily come whenever you call them.

If your dog is in the middle of an unwanted behaviour, chastising them by using their name can ultimately teach them that their name means the same as "bad dog." You may end up with recall problems later, as they will have come to believe that hearing their name means they are in trouble. To avoid this, interrupt the unwanted behaviour with a quick low tone, instead.

2. Avoid showing your anger.

Physical violence and pain are not acceptable tools for communicating with your pet, period.

If you hit or yell at your dog, they won’t understand why you’re angry. What’s more, if you become physical with your dog by pinning, scruffing, or alpha-rolling them, they may become anxious about you touching them in general. Worse, they may learn that their family deals with problems by fighting. This is dangerous, as a threatened dog is likely to bite, and it is often a child who is bitten.

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