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Finding the Right Tone of Voice for Your Dog

Have you ever wondered why your dog listens to some people better than others?

There are probably many reasons why your dog listens more attentively to some people than others, but a recent study that conducted by the Duke University Canine Cognition Center demonstrates that part of it is the tone of voice you use. According to the study, dogs who are more excitable respond more appropriately to a calmer tone of voice, while dogs who are calmer respond more appropriately to a more exciting tone of voice.

How the study was conducted.  

In this study, researchers compared  a group of assistance dogs in training (who were bred to be calmer than a typical dog) and pet dogs. The researchers crouched behind a clear barrier and offered the dog a treat. In order to actually get the treat, the dog had to go around the barrier instead of attempting to go through it. The researcher called the dog using either a calm or excitable tone, and the amount of time it took for the dog to get around the barrier was measured. The result was that calmer dogs performed more effectively when they were called with a more excitable tone and more excitable dogs performed more effectively when they were called with a calmer tone.

The moral to the story is, if your dog is already excited and you use an excitable voice to give them a command, it sends their excitement into overdrive and it makes it difficult for them to make the right decision. On the other side of the spectrum,  if your dog is calmer, it can take a little more excitement and emotion to get them to react. Try this experiment in your own home to determine what tone of voice is the most effective for your dog! Have questions or concerns? Contact our veterinarian in North Bellmore today!


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