Understanding your pet is most important. Be it a language without words, you can still learn to converse with your dog and tend to their needs in time.
Dogs, an intelligent species?
They may seem goofy and easily excited from afar, but they sure are quick learners. Their brains are the size of tangerines. Dogs lack the necessary folds to initiate higher thinking, but is that really needed?
Dog brains have an exceptionally stimulated caudate nucleus. This means their brain activity lights fire in response to hand signals or treats. These canines have dopamine-rich brain juices that make it easy for us to associate their actions with a reward system.
Your furry friends have the same hormonal changes and release as humans. This similarity really aids in getting to know how to talk to dogs. Training your dog to talk is easy. You just need patience, persistence, and a bucket load of their favorite toys and treats.
What does Each Woof mean?
Now we don’t wish to start a rumble, but dogs tend to be smarter than cats. This is due to the increased number of neurons in the cerebral cortex that gives them a woof of complexity.
They carry a brain that can dream, get depressed, recognize your face from many and ascertain all kinds of different smells. Such an intellect makes them stand paw to paw with toddlers when comparing smartness, just like a 2- or 3-year-old is able to decipher your actions, dos, and don’ts. The same is the case with your canine fellows. They are as smart as them and can even outwit them in simple maths.
To answer the question, ‘Can dogs talk?’, in simple words, is YES. However, this statement clearly doesn’t state that your canine pal will start ripping out cipher rap verses. Neither will they recite hard-core Shakespeare dialogues.
How many words can a dog learn then?
You can teach your dog up to 165 words and make sense out of them as well – all through persistent training and continued efforts. These words may seem insignificant. After all, these innocent souls lack the necessary folds on their brains. However, this is not a small number at all. Even the average human offspring takes its sweet time churning out ‘mama,’ ‘dada.’
A man’s best friend comes with the adequate capacity and eagerness to quickly learn through brain teaser exercises and puzzles. Following is a full-fledged guide to assist you in deepening your bond with your dog.
How to Teach a Dog to Talk? – Available Methods
If you wish to train your dog to speak, you can opt for numerous methods. To initiate dialogue with your furry pal, here are some trustworthy methods to invest your time into. The mentioned methods have become the steppingstone of training dogs to talk.
No, you won’t always need an expensive trainer to get these methods accustomed to your dog. All of the below options are simple to implement and bring into daily practice.
- AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication).
- Clicker and Command Training
These two are the most common and effective ways out there. They all are built on the foundation of positive reinforcement, right timing, and repetition.
However, do make sure of one thing!
Making your dog follow the recipe of a certain method is surely not the end of this road. Once your doggo has learned how to speak, you will have to prove its skills. Practicing such steps in repetition will ensure the required results.
Skill proofing should be done in various different environments. He needs to follow good-boy behavior everywhere, not just in the confines of your home.
Top Breeds That You Can Teach
German Shepherd Dog
This exceptional dog is ranked first on our list. While it may lack the intellect and problem-solving skills of the Poodle, the Shepherd is unrivaled in flexibility. Plus, there is no other breed that can be a herding dog, a drug dog, an attack dog, or a movie star.
Hence as a German Shepherd Dog owner, you will find multiple reasons to be proud. In comparison dogs like Poodles aren’t seen tending sheep or Collies protecting military bases. The German Shepherd is a brilliant light, combining temperament, determination, and unwavering loyalty.
Usually, Poodles appear to hide their intellect under a mound of tresses. However, this attractive overachiever routinely walks away with agility and obedience awards.
Therefore, teaching your dog will be a piece of cake. A major reason for this is their people-pleasing nature, thanks to which owners find dog training for poodles quite easy.
Furthermore, they are genuine family dogs that feel at ease everywhere they go. Even though Poodles aren’t known for hunting bad men or dashing after lambs, they’re quite content standing by your side.
The Border Collie must be included on any list of hotshot dogs. Herding sheep requires a great deal of intellect and discipline, as well as tremendous agility. Consequently, the Border Collie is the world’s best sheepdog.
Moreover, the dog learns quickly and may even bark on command with enough training. Because shepherds are in limited supply these days, the Border Collie has shifted his focus to agility, and an overall clever cookie pursuit.
Doberman Pinschers were originally meant to defend tax collectors. Thus, they maintain their protective instincts as well as a reflexive understanding of who is a friend and who is not.
This is a serious, sensitive, and clever dog who wishes to satisfy his owner. As a result, they are exceedingly trainable.
Plus, their emotional intelligence makes them an exceptional species. Thus, if you ever wonder “how do dogs say I love you?” simply look into your Doberman’s eyes.
America’s favorite breed is, predictably, one of the easiest to teach. This pleasant family member thrives at his ancestral responsibility of recovering ducks. This is because he is skilled at obedience and everything to do with water.
Moreover, retrieving is a tough task (it’s more than just fetching) that takes extensive training to even start. However, the Labrador retriever consistently takes first place in breed field competitions across the world.
Hence, teaching the dog to speak isn’t as hard compared to this.
Another attractive retriever, the Golden, is slightly behind the Labrador. Although he excels at pure obedience, the Golden falls behind in field trials and hunting activities. However, it comes out on top in terms of daily intelligence and superb social abilities.
Therefore, with enough training and rewarding your dog you could get it to talk in no time.
This smart toy dog excels at agility, general skills, obedience, and overall good social conduct. He is also particularly skilled at guiding his owners. The Papillon is an excellent choice for anybody searching for a clever, easily taught dog in a compact package.
Another of the most high-achieving German breeds is the Rottweiler. The Rottweiler, while less sensitive and languid than the Pinscher, does have one extra skill: herding. Because he is such a large dog, he must be extremely trainable, which he is.
What Works and What Doesn’t?
We tried all of these tips and tricks on our canine buddies. It was an arduous yet rewarding journey.
Our two cents on the matter?
Be patient and consistent. Not every dog responds to every single method. Dogs learn fast, yes, but it doesn’t mean every method will sit in sync with your dog’s personality.
To help your dog understand, you need to decipher your dog’s personality first. For a long time, cats have been considered the moody supremacists, and our poor puppies have been the popular pushovers.
That is not the case!
Animals, in general, tend to pick up on vibes and tones released into the atmosphere. Compared with high-pitched motherly affections, the mere sense of a stern look or deep-tone scolds all come into play. Most of all, the timing of your hand signals, speak commands, rewards, and punishments come into play.
All of these things can make or break your training.
Things You Will be Needing
To make your dog excited to learn new tricks or words, you must be able to grab their attention. Before you start, remember to keep these pointers in your head.
- Acquire things to sync with your dog’s energy.
- Training your dog how to speak does not mean forcing them. You have to acknowledge good habits and prevent the ones that you don’t please.
- With the below-mentioned items, show your dog how to act or speak, not force.
In the early training days, leashes and harnesses are a must-have. We highly urge you to invest in a reputable harness. As they are hard to get out from and comfortable for your babies at the same time.
Leashes help control their environment. So, when you go to play outside, a single voice command can stop them from staying close by.
When teaching your dog how to talk, interacting with their favorite toys can quicken the process. The most famous ones include tugging and squeaky toys. They are a magical outlet for your dog’s build-up energy. You can also use them to curb their biting stages.
The dog dollar bills are the tasty treats. Rewarding your dogs with even the tiniest bit of treats will get them excited for dog button training sessions. For primary talk-training sessions, real meat, even the size of grains, can get your dog on track. Then when you shift to secondary sessions of teaching your dog how to communicate, softer treats are the way to go. Do make sure to keep them in small containers close by. As you can need them anytime, anywhere where positive reinforcement is needed.
These help them get excited to invest their focus on you when you summon them to learn how to speak. These essential items are your main currency to making your dog learn how to converse with you.
AAC – Augmentative and Alternative Communication
The Louis Vuitton of all talking techniques tried on dogs has to be this one.
The first step to getting started is to get a soundboard for your dog. This can consist of a sound button for dogs that can be arranged into a sentence. However, it is best to start with a few first. This method activates your dog’s cognitive response to making sentences out of words.
‘Isn’t that too complicated for my canine fellow?’
Well, not if you cleverly arrange the dog training buttons. Your dog won’t speak the words but arrange them to form sentences and convey a message.
‘Is my dog smart enough?
Well, yes! A smart move is to start with a few buttons. Your dog may not even know what a button is. Hence, teaching a few first tends to have the best results.
Secondly, you need to have a lot of patience. Keep in mind that these animals processes language a lot slower than humans. So, it is best to give them around 30 to 40 seconds to respond.
Not so fast!
To learn how to teach your dog to talk with buttons in AAC, you need to have a few things apart from the ones we mentioned above. Your canine friend must have some level of pre-set rudimentary communication set with you. Otherwise, it would be highly difficult for you to move on to step two.
Make sure not to get frustrated fast! This technique requires the most patience out of the two we witnessed. To initiate dog button training, practice paw targeting exercises first. This way, your dog will become competent in pushing buttons. Lastly, never take your dog to forcefully push a button. Our furry friends are quite sensitive and can take this in the form of negative reinforcement.
Another piece of advice.
If your canine buddy is highly food motivated, avoid using it as a reward. This will only push them to push buttons without understanding the meaning behind each.
‘What word should I start with?’
When teaching dogs to talk with buttons, the best word to model first is ‘Outside.’ They already know the word. Many already have the habit of scratching doors to be let out for loo time.
You start by placing the button where the usual exit is. Announce you are going outside, press the button, and proceed to leave. Practicing this every time you leave the house will reinforce it to your dog.
Your next step is to make the dog push the button. Rewarding your dog whenever he goes near it, smells it, or touches it goes a long way. Once they push the button and expect to be led outside is when you shall taste victory. This calls for a huge treat, so reward them generously. Gradually shift the button to a central location, where others shall be placed.
Moving on to the next word, you will have to associate the action alongside the pushing of buttons. So, if you choose the word ‘play,’ place their favorite toy next to the button. Your next steps will be the same as before. Announce playtime in an excited voice, press the button and initiate the deed.
There are different stages to using buttons for dogs to talk. From not knowing what a button is to them expecting a response whenever it is pressed. There are months or even years of practice to reach a level where your dog learns to associate deeds with their respective buttons.
Clicker and Command Training
Clicker and command training is the same as above, the only difference is that you don’t have to teach your dog to talk with buttons.
The main essence of clicker training is to time your dogs with accuracy. Hand signals, speak commands, and treats combined with a clicker can help make dogs bark or help tone it down when needed.
Start with a simple hand gesture (pointing fingers upward) when the dog is silent, press the clicker and proceed to give them a treat. For people who like calm and quieter dogs, you will have to work on building a trail or a whine. Next time when you repeat those hand gestures and the treat cycle, your dog will diligently learn how to sing, bark, or speak.
The hand gestures are excellent quiet commands. You can help them learn to read their environments without making a sound or physically tugging them to listen to you.
DO NOT DO THIS!
You can mistakenly reward barking by incorrectly timing your dog. Giving them treats when they get over-excited, bark or bite can make you lose all progress and an out-of-control dog.
A rookie mistake is timing the treat and voice command wrong. Make sure to say the word as they perform the deed or act like they are about to. This teaches them to think instead of generalizing all the tricks you have taught them so far.
‘My dog hates training with me!’
If you are not going anywhere with these sessions, take a break. It is best to keep these sessions short and exciting. Do not over-work your dog. Otherwise, they will lose all interest, the same way a toddler would.
To Speak or Not to Speak?
Clicker training is an excellent way to mark the behavior by making your dogs speak when needed. The purpose of clicker training is to show your pets that you liked their action. The steps you need to follow are:
- Make them notice the treat and wait for them to bark.
- Bless them with a treat the moment they successfully bark. Knowing that everyone has a connection with their pet, you will even be able to tell when they are about to perform the action.
- Slowly incorporate the word ‘Speak’ when they bark to let them know of the meaning.
- Practice generously!
- Last, of all, expand your boundaries. Practice the same steps standing, walking, and out on the road to help them get accustomed.
Your next step after clicker training should be to learn how to associate a different number of barks for different actions. However, that is a complicated task.
Why Go through This Trouble?
Developing a deeper level of communication with your dog is a must. Apart from having fun tricks to teach, you should also strive to have meaning in your communication with your pet.
Apart from a deeper bond, teaching your dog how to talk can surely make you popular among your peers. However, make sure this act is not forced. Not all dogs will learn this, as not all dogs would want to talk.
Moreover, these methods only work on canines that respond well to general training. For example, the common sit, stay, or rollover. Keep in mind, if you proceed to force an immature dog to speak, it can easily get out of control.
Teaching your dog how to talk is possible, but only at the right age and maturity. We hope the information in this article will have proved useful for you. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. Thank you for reading!