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March 24, 2007

How To Communicate With A Dog. What you must know…

Filed under: interesting, Video, videos, youtube — youtubemovie @ 3:32 pm

Youtube Commments:
Both .. My Aussie, Logan is like my kid!! I talk to him all the time, he’s the BEST listener ever!! But he is also dominant, I believe dogs should be treated like they would in the wild, their owner/parent should be the pack leader, but also communicate with them like you said..

bboydesi said: “… We Keep saying ‘No’, but I don’t think that’s working. She’s 4 months Old.”

This is why I made the video about communication. Learn to read and communicate with your dog. Saying “No” over and over is not the answer but propper correction is key. I may address this in more detail down the road. In the meantime try understanding your puppy a little more.


bboydesi, does puppy have her own toys to chew? She’s got teeth cutting through her gums and needs something to chew on. Just one or two chew toys would be good, since she should not think everything laying around belongs to her;– just her own things.

DahliaK said: “I love to watch dogs catch frisbees mid-air … but here’s the deal, I’m allergic to dogs. Can’t I just watch from afar? Keep making these great vids.”

You bet you can. I count on people with that attitude and I will keep making videos.


I agree wholeheartedly with you. I think the humanistic standpoint where motivation and behavior is INTRINSIC is the most beautifully conceived idea ever.

I also think you’re teaching us something else too… unconditional love. Like humans, dogs seem to have their quirks, and we’ve got to love them and show them that some of their ACTIONS are wrong and not the dog itself.

Alright I’m done sounding like a psychologist. Keep it up and don’t change Zak!


right now i am dog sitting some for a neighbor that has a katrina survivor pet; blanche; she seems to have been neglected alot and is shy; i try to be more of a friend & parent to her;

your video was interesting; i prefer less words when chatting with blanche doing obedience training;

thanks zach;

I agree with most everything in this video. Thankyou for putting so much of this out there. I believe in the power of positive reinforcement and proper communication.

I just have one point. :p Not every dog is a border collie. :p BCs seem to have an amazing ability to relate and understand.. where as.. *cough* my cocker, well.. not so intelligent of a breed!

assortedagility said: “…Not every dog is a border collie. :p BCs seem to have an amazing ability to relate and understand.. where as.. *cough* my cocker, well.. not so intelligent of a breed! “

lol, I’ve had great success applying communication like this to cockers:) I find them to be a very bright breed. I agree though, that some dogs (not necessarily breeds) are easier than others to talk to.


Oh yes! Haha. Many people call my cockers stupid. I don’t believe it. :p At least not to their point. I do see my cockers demonstrate their intelligence. I do know that they are bright and not complete stupid, ditz. But, I can also realize and recognize that some breeds, due to their breeding and purpose, just in general hold more natural tendencies to have more intelligence and ability to reason.

assortedagility said: “I just wanted to poitn out specifically thankyou SO much for pointing out the dominance thing. TOO many people blame behaviors on dominance, when almost all the time it just simply isn’t true. So great point!”

Very true indeed. It is one of my biggest pet peeves.


Stapes221 said: “Yelling at anyone or anything doesn’t get anything done no matter what. Everyone tunes yelling out and won’t listen if you’re shouting. I just talk to my animals and they listen just fine.”

That’s the name of the game. Couldn’t have said it better myself.


Naruto00800 said: “I gots a Springer Spaniel And I Love Her but she wont stop jumpin all over everyone ive tries talking to her but she aint payin attention lol and asserting myself dont accomplish nothing lol”

Sounds like your dog is super bored and needs an outlet for his/her energy. Hyper dogs tend to be the most trainable.


Both.. Zak I loved this video, your dogs are a treasure. I have found that some dogs just do not listen period. my guess is, you must have the dog almost from birth to have the relationship you describr, I never had one that early on, do you agree?

bydee said: “…my guess is, you must have the dog almost from birth to have the relationship you describe, I never had one that early on, do you agree?”

Great question. No I do not agree. I would almost venture to say the opposite. I’ve noticed that rescue dogs, many times, tend to be more appreciative of their new parents. Thanks for the important question.


BOTH and then some. There are some behaviors that I will not tolerate (biting, jumping on counters) so I will physically hold my dog to stop the behavior. Most of the time talking works. I also can get away with simple noises (growl, whistle). Hand signals seem to work great and on rare occasion facial expressions work.

Both – I think consistancy is the biggest thing, and then also use as much positive reinforment as possible. I think petowners should make sure to keep their cool with their pets, much like with children. I find a couple taps on the nose should be enough to let a somewhat trained dog know that they’ve done something wrong.

After that I’m not sure if I should tell her that she’s a good dog anyway or just leave the situation as it is. She knows when she’s done something bad from my tone of voice and seems scared rather than regretful, that’s why I always feel bad about myself after our “discussions”. So which is better, telling your dog their are a good dog even if they’ve done something wrong or just leave the situation as it is?

I’d say if she did something “bad” and you caught her IN THE ACT with a moment to react, I’d say “hey!”. Yes, with a raised voice, but not extremely overbearing. “No” is acceptable, but I save that for things really, really bad that I catch a dog in. It won’t help yell at her for something she did when you were away.

Say, if you went out for the night, and you came home to a dog wagging her tail, noticing that your expensive pair of leather shoes are torn and ripped, and then pick up the shoes and yell “no…bad dog. leave these alone.” She’ll think she’s getting chastised for greeting you. And not for chewing the shoes.

But don’t remain mad for forever. Once you correct her, show her it was a momentary thing and maybe get a toy that is acceptable to play and chew on and do a fun interactive activity. I mean, do tell the dog she’s great whenshe does something wonderful! But if you reinforce something positively that you don’t want later on, I wouldn’t praise her at all. Sometimes I use the crate as a means of “time out” if my pup is misbehaving. But I do so when I catch him in the act.

I have 13 dogs and I find that I am the parent. They listen and I talk to them direct. They even help each other learn. It is exciting to be with them in my family. Oh, my dogs all live inside with me and my son. Took lots of training and cleaning to do this but they are great. Love your ideas and videos

My dog is like my youngest kid. I adore her. She hates being left home alone but she isn’t destructive she just is very sad when she realizes she is going to be left. If I am out walking her she goes crazy when she sees other dogs. She tugs on the leash and has recently started barking at the other dogs. She wants to play with them. I taught her not to run out the front door by shaking a can of marbles when she starts to bolt. She hates that sound. 🙂

My cocker (an I believe someone already mentioned they’re not the brightest of the bunch) is over four years old. His name is Titus Amar. My mom and I would like to teach him how to shake; a very basic command. But no matter what method we use or how long we persist, he just doesn’t get it. Even my CAT responds better than him. We’re wondering if he’ just too old.

kaysweetthang said: “…But no matter what method we use or how long we persist, he just doesn’t get it. Even my CAT responds better than him. We’re wondering if he’ just too old.”

I mentioned earlier that I find cockers bright. The point of this video was to point out that it’s not about using “methods” It’s about taking the time to communicate with your dog in their own way. Chances are it’s you who is struggling in that department, not the dog.


Don´t laugh. We don´t have a dog but my mum has trained our cat at home to sit down and to go to her dinner bowl at dinner time and to lie with her tummy up to have a tickle by talking to her like a child and not giving single word orders. Single word orders get ignored! (I know cats are completely different to dogs but yes, its about communication!)

Someone set a dog on me when I was younger, and Ive met someone who got bitten on the hand. A dog tried to bite my trousers and stop me getting by [next door neighbours dog]

Think I’ll own a golden retriever when I can, they are friendly enough

I do not currently have a dog because I do not have the space right now although was rasied with many animals including dogs. I think that the best way to rasie and train a dog is to love it as you would a family member and be prepared with a yard, and time to train it freely and kindly. I do not believe in a choke chain or leaving the dog outside. Dogs are companions not things.

Parental – I am a strong believer in building a positive, trusting relationship with animals rather than exerting some dominant/alpha ideology over them. I do subscribe to using the clicker to teach some fundamental behaviours (I LOVE clicker training, and the dogs do too), but at the same time I’ve also taught a lot of things just by voice and associations alone – communication, if you will.

My dog Phoebe who is a 3yr old Labrador retreiver gets so excited when I’m gonna take her for a walk that she jumps on me and my othr dog and scratches and it’s awful. I’ve tried everything but it’s no use so now I don’t take her out that much because it’s too much of an ordeal. What should I do?

I like to give dogs options =) If she goes crazy, she can do so, but she won’t get anywhere passed the door. This is where you come in and ignore her behavior until she settles at your side. Then, she gets the other option where she is allowed out when the leash is attached, if she’s settled and ready to not rush forward. It doesn’t hurt to have a cookie or two, and teach her to “sit” and “wait” at EVERY door entry, gate, etc. and letting you pass first. Then give a release word to come follow.

If she pulls when she walks with you, you can also give her options. When she’s at the end of her lead, pulling, she can do so, but that’s where you stop. Wait for her reaction. Make sure you have treats. What you want is for her to return to ur side, and mark the behavior with a clicker or a happy “yesss!”. Hold the treat to the side you walk her on. If shes at ur side, continue walking. Do it all over again if she pulls.

Put her leash on and go do tricks in the kitchen for treats. This helps her learn that a leash means you pay attention to me, not you take me for a drag.

Also let her drag the leash around sometimes. Keep her from knowing what happens when a leash gets clipped on.

Stop asking her with baby talk if she wants to go for a walk (just guessing…)


bobsully said: “I had an American Eskimo some years ago and he truly was my best friend. He is gone now, but I just talked to him and people were amazed at how “smart” he was. We just knew each other…and loved each other too.”

I have worked with some super, super smart American Eskimo pups before. Many of them are unbelieveably sharp.


fiddlesticksxx said: “Parental- It makes it more fun for me and the dogs.”

That’s what it’s about. Much of the conventional thought is that we need to train in a similar manner to programming a computer more so than building a relationship. When that relationship is fun with our dog we learn so much more that way.

rlepine said:
“I don’t speak.
I use my hands signals.
It works really well.”

I hear this often. I think the dog should be bilingual personally. They should understand visual and verbal language. For example, suppose your hands are full when arriving home from the grocery store and you want to communicate with your pup that you’d like for them to go settle down instead of greeting you enthusiastically?

Both. I don’t treat my dog as a human child because I feel that that is unfair to my dogs. We are taking their needs and manipulating them to fit human needs. While some dog and human needs are the same, it’s those that are different (purely dog) that get overlooked or ignored. That’s why I communicate using a blend of traditional and parental methods. Thanks Zak

MMNYCCPA said: “Excellent video Zak…Very informative..You take so much time and effort in coming up with new ideas. I hope something great comes out of all of these You Tube Videos…You have great communication skills!”

Thanks for the compliment. I must say that great things are coming out of the videos I make already. They seem to be entertaining and informative at times. I have received so many emails of people getting more involved with their dogs so that is an awesome thing.


I definitely stand firm in your beliefs. Communication is first and foremost the key to a well trained dog. This has significantly relative importance to my training with my BC because we do Rally, Obedience, and started agility. The communication needs to be there to advance, and you see awesome people out there with their dogs doing awesome things. And not just agility, flyball, and Obedience – there’s search and rescue, seeing eye, protection, drug detection, and so forth.

You know what… I HONESTLY DON’T KNOW. =P I guess you can say that traditional training opposed to being parental weighs in heavily in such a broad variety of actions. I think I’m more parental, cause I’ve seen so many situations where man-handling or where said dominance gets a dog and trainer NO WHERE. I don’t like the whole dominance thing. My father did schutzhund, and I’ve seen some training habits that may shock some people.

For example, a forced retreive for one. And a forced track. I was like 7 or 8 at the time, and so I didn’t really know anything more until I was like 12 where I competed in obedience and showmanship with Dobes. But I strongly feel parental is maybe more of what I do. I don’t overwhelm my dog and try to put him in hisplace. I mean, I brought him into my home, and its my responsibility to show him whats right and wrong.

But he’s still my kid, you know. He has needs: gets jogged in the morning for an hour, 2 short 15 minute sessions of obedience, we do agility for about half an hour, take the daily walk around the neighborhood, fetch and frisbee. He’s not a lawn ornament, he’s my bestfriend and I love him.

Parental. Your video reminded me that when I met my husband 20+ years ago he thought I was nuts because I talked to my dog. It took a few years to convert him but why shouldn’t I talk to my dogs? They are members of my family. This also helps my dogs to understand what acceptable household behaviors are. Plus, in a multi-dog household, talking to my dogs shapes pack behaviors where the older dogs teach the younger ones.

i totally agree! even thought we just have a cat. people are surprised that i dont have to yell to get her to do things. for example, when she is up on something she isnt supposed to be on all i have to do is look at her and say ” excuse me ma’am” and she will get down. is funny but works and makes me feel like we coexist instead of me owning her

I agree with you. We have a rott and i treat him like a child. Yesterday i looked at him while in the kitchen and told him to go and get his toy which was in a basket in the Living room. He went and brought it to the edge of the kitchen but did not want to give it to me. Hes pretty protective of his toys.

Zak that is a very good video you know mine is definitely parental….when doing freestyle out on a field with your dog and doing a routine your dog has to be able to read you and understand you so you really have to have a special connection with your dog! Good video the best one you’ve put out!
Hope to see you soon!

Zak — staring into the eyes of an unknown dog can be dangerous. Dogs often view stares as threats — if you aren’t real sure about the dog you are doing this with, you may be asking for a bite in the face. I can see why you feel comfortable doing this with Alpha, but a lot of people reading this may not be in a situation where they’ve known and trained the dog from puppyhood. Just my two cents based on working with hundreds of shelter dogs and reading a lot of books on dog behavior.


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