Wednesday, March 21, 2012

dog language

I've come to realize that we all speak slight different "languages" to our dogs. I'm assuming most of the differences are the products of our upbringings - things our parents said, or that we've heard our friends say to their dogs (or maybe kids).

It's really apparent at our house, where our kids dogs were raised separately for so many years, listening to our individual "languages." For example:

For going to sleep at night:
Chad says: "puppies ready to go nuh-night?!"
Brandy says: "puppies wanna go to bedtime?!"

For letting go of toys or things they shouldn't have:
Ramsey understands: "Drop it!"
Suvi understands: "Leave it!"
It's hilarious to hear Chad trying to get them to stop tugging on something. "Drop it! Leave it! Drop it! Leave it!" as he looks at each girl in turn...haha. We are changing to "Drop it!" as that is technically the right command, since Suvi also understands "Leave it!" as something not to touch - "Drop it!" is now the command to drop something she's already touching chewing.

For sitting on hind legs with front paws up, to get a treat:
Chad: "Sit pretty."
Brandy: "Say Please."
These days, we do mostly go with "Say Please." It's really fun to tell your dog to "Say Please" before a guest or friend gives them a treat. Such good manners!

For that quick correction of some behavior:
Chad: I honestly don't even know. I think he just says "No."
Brandy: "enh-eh-eh-eh."
Random sound made very quickly in succession. Also very funny to hear Chad try to repeat. Even funnier when I accidentally catch myself making this noise at HIM when I want him to catch him before he does something. Like "enh-eh-eh-eh, don't you dare put that on the counter that I just cleaned!"

For what we call licking:
Ramsey and Pablo give "kisses."
Suvi gives "smooches."
After multiple requests for "no more kisses or smooches," it tends to revert to "quit licking me!"

For giving the dogs the guilt trip when they've done something wrong:
Brandy says: "You're a bad girl!"
Chad says: "You're going to the pound!"
We both use "naughty" from time to time - but no matter the words used, the dogs all give us the puppy dog eyes when any of these three phrases comes out. Apparently, tone of voice is a universal language...

What different words do you use when talking to your dogs? Where did the different words come from?

UPDATE: This happened this morning (Saturday), and it made me laugh when Chad told Suvi she was going to the pound if she didn't learn to sweep. He posted the photo to Facebook.


  1. Elka is funny because most of the time, if somebody other than me gives her a cue, she'll look at me first. If a stranger says her name, she'll shoot a look to me like "How did they know?!"

    A big confusion (for people other than myself) is "Down" means lay down and "Off" means "off the couch" or "don't jump", that kind of thing. "Drop it" is drop a toy or object, or let it go. "Leave it" means "don't touch".

    I tend to be very conversational with Elka, and it's funny to me the level of comprehension she seems to have ("we're waiting for the pizza" appears to mean "go to the front door")

  2. I came across this article today (if you don't already follow Life With Dogs on Facebook, I suggest starting!), and it aligned really well with this post. Thought I'd share: A shelter dog saved a girl from a registered sex offender, while out on a walk. Go Mabeline!!

  3. There are certain commands or saying we have to spell because the dogs get too excited. We have a 5 year old male, Bodie and a 1 year old female, Jazzi. So we have to spell, "Kevin do you want to take the d-o-g-s for a w-a-l-k?" Because if we don't spell and it and my husband doesn't fell like a walk, well then the two excited dobies that are already circling at the front door are ALL MINE. Another is "have you f-e-e-d the d-o-g-s?" or "i-c-e c-r-e-a-m" I'm sure they will soon be able able to pick up on the spelling and we're going to have to speak another language or just use another weird word that doesn't even relate!

  4. Mamaof2 - We refer to the outside as "the mystical land" when we talk to each other. "Hey, can you take Spike to the mystical land?" Then when we've settled on who is going to take him...we ask him if he wants to go outside and he gets all excited. :)