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Do you use another language to train your dog?

What language do you use with your dog?

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Hello everyone,

I would like to know if anyone among you uses another language to give orders to your dog and whether yes which and why?

I train my dog in my mother tongue (French) and last time my wife told me that for our next dog she will want that I train our dog in another language, mostly to avoid for example the kids (not ours) can give orders to the dog.

That’s why I want to teach him orders in English (and for the challenge) but for that I need your help. Here is for the moment my list of orders and the translation in French (to verify and if anyone is interested (I don’t use all)). Feel free to correct me or tell me if I forget one important order:

Sit = assis.
Down = couché.
Stand = debout.
Come/here = viens/ici.
Take = prends.
Drop = lâche.
Leave = laisse.
Give = donne.
Fetch = va chercher.
?? = rapporte.
Stay/wait/don’t move = reste/attends/pas bouger.
Up = monte.
Go down = descends.
Ahead/go back = devant/recule.
Left/right = gauche/droite.
Look = regarde.
Search = cherche.
Heel = au pied.
Jump = saute.
Stop = stop (litterally it should be « arrête »).
Touch/don’t touch = touche/pas touche or pas toucher.
Go in/out = rentre/sors.
Speak/bark = parle/aboie.
Yes/no = oui/non.
Good/bad boy = bon/mauvais chien (dog = chien, boy = garçon).
Eat/drink = mange/bois.
Basket = panier.
Give the paw = donne la patte. I use sometime « check », it’s like a high five for you.
Twist = tourne.

I put in red the words or I have a doubt. The main is for down, do I need to use « down » when I want my dog goes lying on the floor and use « go down » when I want he goes down from my car or the sofa for example?

For « fetch », I’m not sure because In French I will use 2 orders. The first « va chercher » when I want my dog go to catch the ball I throw and the second « rapporte » where I want he comes back with the ball, maybe for you it’s the same order and you don’t do the distinction.

Thanks for your help =)
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Welcome to the forum, Michael. Ultimately, you can use any word, and some people do use different words for the same actions (e.g. come/here). Ideally, anyone else who needs to use commands for your dog will already know it well enough to know which words it knows. But I've added a few thoughts below.

Down = couché vs. Go down = descends: These are two different actions as far as the dog is concerned, so need distinct words. I use 'down' for 'lie down', and 'off' for 'get off the sofa' or 'stop jumping up on me'.

Fetch = va chercher & ?? = rapporte: 'Fetch' would usually be used to mean 'get it and bring it to me'. I tend to use 'find it' (though for things that are out of sight or tricky to spot), and 'bring it to me'. For ball throwing, as dogs are generally motivated to get the ball anyway, I'd tend to use 'wait' to stop my dog going for the ball, and then OK to release him - followed by 'bring it to me'. 'Bring it to me' would be better as a shorter command, but for us it just sort of evolved.

Look = regarde: I think most people use 'watch' rather than 'look' (assuming this is looking at the owner/handler).

Hell = au pied: I think you mean 'heel'? This is for walking very close to the handler's leg, often with the head angled to pay attention to the handler. For more 'relaxed' side-by-side walking, a lot of people use 'close'.

Touch/don’t touch = touche/pas touche or pas toucher: Both contain 'touch', which would be confusing to the dog, so these should be distinct terms.

Good/bad boy = bon/mauvais chien (dog = chien, boy = garçon): I wouldn't use 'bad boy' or anything similar. It pretty much tells the dog what not to do, after he's actually done it, which is too late. Even a stern 'no' is ineffective on my dog. If he's thinking of doing something I don't want him to do, I tend to use a discouraging tone of voice rather than a specific word, or maybe 'wait', to freeze his actions for a moment.

Basket = panier: You may want a more general term, for situations when you want your dog to settle down in other locations, e.g. a small blanket on the floor in a pub. I use 'settle down'.

Give the paw: Just 'paw' would be shorter and therefore clearer. I use 'paw' for right paw and 'other' for left paw.

Twist: I taught 'spin' for clockwise, and 'twirl' for anti-clockwise, which I think is common. Doing both directions can help a dog limber up more effectively than just one direction.

Hope that helps :)
Hi, welcome.

I had this partly written when Judy replied, so I will just leave this part -

In theory, as long as everyone is consistent you can use any words you like, it's just a sound. I have an acquaintance who was doing work on rear paw targeting (getting her dog to position his rear paws on a mark on the floor) and used ”pee on it” (pissez dessus) as her cue, just to worry people!
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I didn't realise for some time that I trained my dogs mostly with body language rather than words. Because they were working dogs that had to perform silently, it meant I had to be silent also. Dogs are very astute at watching our body language and quickly learn not just hand signals but postural changes as well. I am a naturally very quiet person. So it happened without any special training. And that also meant that when I DID use my voice (such as GAAAAAH as one is about to roll in something vile) they realise it is serious.
@JudyN :

I better understand why you say “off”, I didn’t know the phrasal verb “get off” in this case. I searched and it seems I have to say “get off” the sofa and “get out” the car for example so why not use “off” and “out”.

Ok for “fetch”, it’s like two orders in one (“get it” and “bring it”).

Ok for “watch” because you’re right I want to use this order when I want my dog look at me or my hand.
Haha, of course I wanted to say “heel” and not “hell”, I have just corrected thanks. I didn’t think about “close” (= “proche”), thanks.

For bad boy, I don’t use it, I write it only for people who use it and want the translation in French. In my case I try to say “no” before the bad thing or another order like “come” for instance.

Thank you for all the explanations and the other advices (“settle down”, “paw” etc.), they help me a lot ;)

@JoanneF :

I know I can use it any sounds to educate my dog but if I can avoid to look like an idiot with a bad word it’s better :p The order “pee on it” is fun for jokes =)

@Hemlock :

A period, I searched what was better between hands or voice orders. Both are good but it seems it’s easier for dog to learn body language (maybe I’m wrong it’s what I remember) and in my case my dog reacts faster with hands orders than voice orders. I teach both and I think it will be hard to teach hands orders before/without voice orders.

As an aside, we are in France a lot. My dog has seen his French vet for passport signings more than he has seen his UK vet!
He is gorgeous :)

I've found that my dog is extremely good at reading body language in general, as well as visual cues, and in general he did seem to pick up hand signals faster than verbal cues. My 'speak' cues are opening and closing my hand as if I'm imitating a duck, and 'What do you say?' It's handy for when someone admires him, or gives him a treat, and I can prompt him to say 'thank you' :D (Only then I have to reward him for saying thank you....)

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