Canine Services International Dog Training Blog

Training your dog in a different language


]It is becoming increasingly popular to train your dog in a language other than the language you speak on a daily basis. There are many advantages to choosing to train your dog in a different language – a ‘training language’ if you will.

Training in a different language greatly reduces the likelihood of the dog confusing your conversational interactions with others as a cue for him or her to perform a given behaviour.

Using a separate training language for your dog can also help you to prevent conflict around the home when family members fail (by choice or by accident) to uphold the expectations that you have trained the dog to associate with the command in question.

Picking a language that sounds markedly different to the language that you predominantly speak in offers the most obvious advantage.  Languages such as French and German are typically well suited to the task due to their very distinct vocabularies and the tone and inflection used in their pronunciation.

The working dog community has been using languages other than English for many years, due in no small part to the prevalence of imported working dogs that have already been trained in their country of origin.

Another excellent use of a foreign equivalent word in dog training is in addressing a command that is particularly problematic.

For sake of example let us examine a common situation.  Many dogs are trained to drop from a sitting position.  This methodology frequently produces slower, less precise, less stable drop positions and requires the front feet to move significantly from their place which can be problematic for competitors or those that seek precision.

Rather than trying to retrain the drop command one can simply teach an entirely new command – perhaps using the German ‘platz’ instead – and teaching the dog to bend his elbows before lowering the rest of his body down between his hind legs, like the sphinx.

By taking this approach the trainer can teach things from scratch to the dog, without the stress and frustration of fighting against the previous patterns and associations created in the training of the existing drop command.

Below is a list of some common dog training terms in 4 languages:

Have you used another language to overcome a training hurdle with your dog?

Do you choose to use a training language with your dog? If so, why?

Please share your story with us in the comments section below.


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