Not only can our mood affect our dog, but also the tone of voice we use plays a fundamental role. Working on our tone of voice can be a great way to help a reactive dog.
Why the tone of voice?
We, humans, talk a lot, sometimes too much. In some cases, the owner tends to talk so much with his dog that the poor four-legged is disoriented. Most likely, some dogs think they call themselves “No” or “Stop it”, so often they hear those words while addressing them.
Seriously, if on one hand, the excessive use of the voice is counterproductive, knowing how to use it well can instead be the ace in the pack, especially when you relate with a very fearful or reactive dog.
In fact, the voice helps us to transmit our emotions. If we are relaxed, happy or worried our tone of voice varies. That’s why using the tone of the voice correctly can be an excellent tool to help our dog deal with situations that are stressful.
Using the voice to reduce reactivity
In general, Argos is not reactive towards other dogs. On the contrary, he is very good at relating to most of the dogs. But there are a couple of dogs who he just cannot stand, for one reason or another. Knowing what his “enemies” are, I try to anticipate his reaction by presenting them in a joyful way.
There is a black Labrador living in the building next to us: I have never been able to understand why, but Argos cannot stand it. He starts to growl as soon as he sees it. So, one morning, I managed to anticipate his reaction by saying: “Argos, look who’s there! There’s a nice dog!” With a cheerful and happy tone of voice. The tone you would use to greet a friend you have not seen for a long time or the tone you would use with a child to tell him that his buddy has arrived. Well, Argos started wagging and being interested in the dog. I continue talking to him in a happy and cheerful tone and as we approached, and his tail was moving more and more. He was thrilled to find out who that interesting dog at the bottom of the road was. Eventually, he even pulled to get closer, while the poor Labrador was waiting for him to meet him for the first time, without receiving the usual furious growl.
Many thanks to our friend Niki and her beautiful Sora for the pictures! You can follow her on Instagram @sora_the_adventurer
Have you ever tried to use your voice to reduce your dog’s reactivity? Let me know in the comments!