Command voice

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by JPuckett1989, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. JPuckett1989

    JPuckett1989 Slowly but surely......

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    Might be a stupid question. But I noticed today with sadie when I was outside,if I used a more firm and loud,not yelling but louder than you would talk to someone,that she responded more quickly and better than usual. I always use a firm voice when training her and when telling her commands through out the day but never at a higher volume. Good or bad thing? I guess I dont want her to feel like she's in trouble and I'm yelling at her. Do dogs take volume into consideration or is more about the tone of your voice? I think she needs a firmer hand when training so maybe I should be using a louder,more firm voice for commands?
     
  2. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    I think it's a lot like children who ignore their parents calling them until they get "that tone." Dogs can absolutely learn the same thing, and can absolutely learn that in some environments they have to respond quicker than in other environments. So your dog may be learning that in the house, she should respond to one tone of voice you use, but outside she doesn't have to respond to that one, she can wait until you get louder and firmer.

    This also brings up an interesting topic about cueing. Why do dogs do the behaviors that we cue them to do? They do them because there is a reinforcement history. My dog doesn't sit because I told her to, she sits because she knows that when she sits after I say "sit," she will often get reinforcement. It's the reinforcement history that drives a behavior. This is very evident when you're working with a new dog who doesn't know what "sit" means; but I think a lot of us forget what our dogs do and do not know, and in what contexts they've been trained.
     
  3. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

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    if she ignores your command....and then you say it in "that tone" and she ignores it...do you punish her? I think alot of dogs learn the harsher tone is a prelude to punishment if they don't comply.

    If you reinforce the reply to the louder cue, the dog will respond to the louder cue :)
     
  4. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    I think some of it is reinforcement history, positive or negative. If you always go grab your dog and drag them inside after lots of nicely toned "come" commands, and finally after losing your patience and shouting, you go grab the dog, they may have figured they can ignore you and keep doing their thing until you start to get "that" tone in your voice.

    It also works the other way - I was determined not to make "leave it" an angry or negative command for Meg. The end result is that she responds quickest when it is in a very chipper, sing-song voice :rolleyes:. That's what she heard when she got treated for turning away, so that is the cue for her.

    I don't think it's so much that they innately understand "angry voice" or "happy voice". I think it's mostly just what they have learned from our responses.
     
  5. Tsume'sMom

    Tsume'sMom New Member

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    I always use a differant voice for training/giving commands. They are called commands, not request, and I give them in a calm but commanding tone. Just as I give Tsume verbal praise in a high and happy tone when he complies.

    By useing a commanding voice I find that my verbal cue comes out clear and crisp, vs my normal voice that may not be as projected. I think it can build better responce time simlpy because you are speeking more clearly.

    Like giving a speach or singing, you are making your words clear, pronounced, and projected. Your not yelling or being mean, it simply says "Listen to me". Training your dog while giving commands in this firm voice is just clear comunication in my book.
     
  6. JPuckett1989

    JPuckett1989 Slowly but surely......

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    Thanks tsume thats more of what I was looking for. I dont punish her if she doesnt listen to me when i say sit,I just say it repeatedly and do not give her a treat, or if i'm taking her outside I always tell her to sit before I open the door,so I dont open the door to let her go outside until she sits. I still keep my tone flat when speaking louder. I don't say it in an angry tone,or a happy tone. I just keep it mono,but speak it louder.
     
  7. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    The only thing different about my "command" voice is that I speak slightly slower so my words are clear, not mumbled. Tone/volume should have nothing to do with whether or not your dog listens to you, all that matters is the voice you used while training, that is the tone the dog has learned you use when asking him to do something. If your dog does not respond when you give a command he does not know it well enough, does not know it in that environment/context, is over stimulated, or has not been properly motivated during training. If using a harsher voice makes the dog follow the command it's very possible the dog recognizes the tone from when he's been punished in the past and feels he is going to get in trouble very shortly unless he pays attention (so this is likely a dog who has not been properly motivated during training or is too distracted), he may view the tone/volume itself as a punisher if he is sensitive. Your body/facial language may change when you use a harsher tone as well which may intimidate the dog.

    I wouldn't do it, I want my dog to listen because I trained him the commands and he's following them because he wants to, not because I punish or may soon punish him (even if you haven't in this context, he may associate that voice with a punishment). I don't view command giving as a "you better do it", I am asking her to do things, not making her do things and Phoebe is happy to say "ok!" because I've trained her to want to listen to me. She always has a choice. if anything my tone IS happy, it keeps her focused on me, monotone is boring.
     
  8. JPuckett1989

    JPuckett1989 Slowly but surely......

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    how can you tell if your dog is over stimulated?
     
  9. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    I agree with Maxy here:

    Well said!

    I don't call them "commands" anyway. My dog does not do behaviors because I told her to and she knows to follow my every wish. She does them because she has been rewarded for the behavior in the past.

    For example, when I teach sit, I start by just teaching the behavior without a cue. When the dog learns that doing *that* behavior gets him reinforcement, he will do it quickly and predictibly. That's when I teach him what *that* behavior is called... just before he does it, I say "sit," so that he hears the cue, does the behavior, and gets reinforced for it. It's simply naming the behavior that he already knows. Later when I cue "sit," my dog understands that this is his chance for getting reinforcement for that behavior he's learned, and he does it because he knows the behavior gets him good stuff.

    And whether you are calling it a "cue" or a "command" or a "request" or whatever, you ARE asking your dog to do it; your dog has a choice of whether or not to do it (assuming he actually does know what the behavior is). If I TELL my dog to sit and he doesn't do it, can I MAKE him do it? Well, yeah, I could push him down, but that's only going to work once or twice and he'll learn to avoid that. What if I TELL my dog to retrieve and he doesn't do it, can I MAKE him do it then? NO. So every cue IS a request; it doesn't matter if you see it that way or not, that IS the way your dog sees it. (Unless you have a robot dog. :))

    The trick is that you control the consequences. If you ask your dog to do something and he does it, you can give him reinforcement to increase the likelihood of him doing it the next time you ask him to. If you ask him to do something and he doesn't do it, you can give him a punisher (positive punishment, like a correction, or negative punishment, like a time-out) to decrease the likelihood of him not doing the behavior next time.
     
  10. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

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    personally, I can say my cues under my breath, barely audible, and if the dog can hear it, they comply ;)


    I have always called them cues, or "i asked the dog to sit" etc



    to the OP be careful about repeating cues over and over. Or you'll end up with a sitsitsitsitsit dog that need three or four 'sits" to comply. Because thats the new cue. :)
     
  11. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    Oh yes, I LOVE whispering cues to my dog. It's especially helpful in public with the service dogs.

    I think about 98% of the time my dogs don't do a behavior when I cue it, it's because 1.) I don't have their attention, or 2.) I haven't sufficiently trained the cue.
     
  12. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

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    this is the belief I subscribe to as well :)

    Emma is really really good with the whispered cues...I think shes almost lip reading LOL
     
  13. TheGoldenRetriever

    TheGoldenRetriever New Member

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    It could have been as simple as the fact that she was outside ... and there were more distractions.

    Many times puppies (or adult rescue dogs) are first trained indoors (or in a quiet yard, maybe even one with a privacy fence) and they comply perfectly ... but then it becomes a completely different ballgame once distractions are added into the mix! They (puppies and dogs) often need additional training to comply when distractions are present. I'm thinking that may have been it, since you distinctly mentioned that you first noticed this while outside.

    You don't need to yell to teach distraction-resistance ... just need to teach her to focus on YOU instead of all the nifty distractions outside. :)
     
  14. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    I have a dog who, if "commanded" in a firm voice, will decide she is no longer interested in interacting with you thank you very much. She's as willing a worker as I've met, and tries harder than any dog out there to do the right thing - but she's incredibly soft and everything needs to be upbeat and pleasant. I could probably recondition her to think a firm or angry voice was the greatest thing in the world so she would tolerated it - but I'm just as happy with my sing-song "leave it" and "this way" and whisper quiet 'lie down', and she's as reliable as many other dogs I know.

    Command, cue, request or plea - the dogs are simply doing what they have been reinforced to do. Whatever tone of voice gets a good response and a happy working dog is the right answer for that dog.
     

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