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I was reading the thread on establishing dominance and came across this written by Lou Castle
Quote: Use a normal voice. When adult dogs play with other adult dogs they use a certain tone of voice (bark). When puppies play with adults or other puppies pitched they use a high pitched yip. If you use a high pitched voice when playing with or praising your adult dog how do you think he thinks of you? As a mature adult capable of leading him? Or as an immature pack member? Now I'm not saying that he'll immediately become alpha if you praise or talk to him in a high pitched voice but I am saying that you're sending a mixed message to him. One that can put some doubts in his mind as to your exact position in the pack.
thought i'd start a new thread as the other was quite long.

I respect lou castle but am a little unsure of the above quote, I've always been told dog trainers should use a high pitch voice for verbal praise ?
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is it really sending a mixed message on rank ?

eg; think of the small squeaky little dog who can boss around a larger dog



what does everyon else think ?
 

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Re: voice pitch & dominance perception

Praise must be tailored to the individual dog. If you use high squeaky praise with my dog, he will get so over-excited feeding off that silly energy, he'll "lose the lesson" that you were trying to teach him.

My dog is praised in a low, deep, soothing voice. Imagine g-e-n-t-l-y stroking his head with your voice: "Fiiiiiinnnne.....fiiiiinnnne..."

As far as dominance goes, I have noticed the same thing he mentions above: High pitched means my dog ignores it. (I have a PUSHY, dominant dog) Normal voice or deeper gets his attention: "Whoa, Momma.. sorry, I'll pay better attention!"

This may not matter to some dogs who don't have a dominance agenda. Tone may also not matter to dogs who don't care if they please their handlers. But, for some dogs-- like mine (dominant/pushy, but wants to please)-- tone DOES affect his response.
 

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I agree, Patti - different "tones" work for different dogs - and even in the same dog in different situations. Also - the amount of talking makes a difference. I'm a big talker and have to remind myself to quiet down and to also use/be aware of body language. That is another, important, part of communication that can be toned up or down as well.
 

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Agreed Patti - each dog has to be evaluated on its own. If I were to use a "normal" voice on our two year old he'd yawn. He needs that higher pitch to get him going. Our girl on the other hand is high drive, and a high squeaky voice isn't appropriate for her. I think you have to experiment and see what works best......

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Anja GSD
Conor GSD - adopted from this Board
Blue GSD - at the Bridge
 

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Quote: If you use a high pitched voice when playing with or praising your adult dog how do you think he thinks of you?
When I use it in play or praise, my dog's think I love them, am having fun, and they are the light of my life.

And when I use my low and serious voice, they know something is up and it may not be good.

And when I use my normal voice they just know to listen and pay attention. Not a good or bad tone to them, just a tone that is about to give information.

The voice thing is very apparent to me in the fact most men don't have near the problems getting a dogs attention as women, because I think the lower tone just naturally gets their attention. On the other hand, if these same men do NOT alter their voices when they are praising their dogs, the dogs are NOT clear about what they just did and was it correct of not.

Interesting aside, I just watched an entire episode of K-9 Cops (Animal Planet) last night. What a great show and great Police Department. Listening to ALL of these big scary 'cops' praising their dogs after they did something right, in that loud high pitched tone, just did my heart good. THEY get it. And boy did those dogs get it.
 

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With my late showline dog, a high voice got him motivated! With my current workinglines dog, a high voice would send him into orbit. Believe it or not, I was trained how to best praise Grimm by an animal shelter manager here in Germany! For the intense dogs, she uses her voice to sooooothe them when they do the right thing. The dogs don't get so excited that they miss the lesson being taught.

MaggieRoseLee, cool about the cops on the TV show praising their dogs with lots of energy! Some dogs, that's safe for. I miss being able to throw a praise party for my dog... but this one, flips out of someone throws that kinda excited energy at him. It's such an individual thing!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks everyone for your replies




Quote: This may not matter to some dogs who don't have a dominance agenda. Tone may also not matter to dogs who don't care if they please their handlers. But, for some dogs-- like mine (dominant/pushy, but wants to please)-- tone DOES affect his response.
my dog does not care for praise but is not dominant, i still use a range in tone so she can associate it with something good or bad, and normal tone for commands.

agree it an individual thing
just query the theory that using higher-pitched with a dominant dog is giving mixed messages about rank ?
 

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Pitch is relative, too - what is low for some females would be high for some males. I think that in many situations our dogs respond to what we teach them. If a dog ignores a command given in a normal voice, but responds when you drop your voice low, then they've been taught to ignore the first one.

I see this all the time in training. People say "sit" in a normal voice, their dog doesn't sit, so they use a lower (more forceful) voice and then make their dog sit. So in the grand scheme of things, the dog is learning that the first sit (normal voice) can be ignored. Ideally dogs learn to follow commands that are even whispered.

You can definitely change a dog's attitude with your voice, but to me it's not just high or low - it's what you put into it. When I praise my dogs, my voice does go higher but I'm also putting in a lot of energy and happiness into the tone. If I just raise my voice to a higher pitch and give a normal command (without the energy) then my dogs wouldn't get all excited. It's the attitude I'm offering that makes them excited. Same with a low voice - a low voice can mean "stay calm" or "bad dog" depending on how it's used.

Women with high voices can absolutely develop the proper dominance structure with their dogs. It's all in how you use the voice.

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
 

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As an aside, my girl was scared of my dad when she first met him (she was 4 months old). I finally realized that my dad's deep rumbly voice was throwing her off (my hubby is more of tenor; dad's a basso profundo).

She came to like dad very much, but she's still extremely respectful around him (she loves my mom, too, but she's much more playful around her and plays jokes on my mom in a way she doesn't with my dad). She only sees him about 3 times a year, and there's always a period of adjustment for her while she orients to his speaking style.
 

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From an owner of many dogs all my life.

I have five dogs and am perceived as the pack leader by all. They love the high voice. But I have one that over reacts to it. He is also a tightly wound, anxious dog that we got from the pound as a pup. Also have another pound puppy that is very dominance oriented, but has no issues with the high voice. Once he realized I was dominant, that was it. High voice or no high voice. He and my other dogs do associate it with happiness and praise. So I think most dogs love it and a few will over react react and a soothing voice would keep those dogs a little calmer if that is your preference. Hope this helps.
 
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