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I am really interested in getting replies to this post.

 

By 'obedient' I mean dogs that will obey commands immediately especially the 'come' command.

 

Why I am asking this question is as follows. I live alone and find myself 'talking' a lot to Meg , sort of a running commentary on things like 'think I'll make a cup of tea now Meg' . I seem to frequently use her name when doing this.

So now I wonder if by chatting with her like this it is diminishing the impact of commands. So do owners of obedient dogs do the chatting thing or tend to restrict conversation to commands.

 

It sort of makes sense that if a dog is hearing her name mentioned frequently during the day in a manner not associated with commands she may not attach much importance to commands in which her name features.

 

OK so some of you may think me daft and thats ok but if not please reply.

 

thanks

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I would consider my dogs pretty obedient and I personally don't chatter to them much. Usually when I do, it is something relevant to them "ok dogs, we are going to do training first and then go to the park." I really don't know if it makes a difference or not. I do work on some type of training with them nearly every day, and I am guessing that makes more of a difference than anything in building a relationship and making them WANT to listen for things that pertain to them.

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It sort of makes sense that if a dog is hearing her name mentioned frequently during the day in a manner not associated with commands she may not attach much importance to commands in which her name features.

 

No, I don't think that hearing it's name frequently makes any difference. Dogs are extremely sensitive to your tone. Simply saying "think I'll make a cup of tea now Meg" will sound very different to her than "Meg! come!". I use my dog's name in a host of different ways -- each with a different tone -- and she reacts correspondingly.

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When I was in class for my volunteer dog training - the instuctor wanted us to give the command only once and be quiet the rest of the time. ( This was four years ago). I still volunteer as a dog trainer for the dogs at the local humane society but I talk to the dogs. I even sing ( and I cannot sing) when I get a dog that is very timid or stressed. I find my singing helps. I really like around Christmas, because I then have a variety of songs that I can actually remember the words to. With our dogs at home (4) I talk to them a lot. They easy can tell the difference between a "command" and chatter. Sometimes we have a discussion - where the dog is sitting in front of me , tipping his/her head from side to side , probably trying to figure out how they ended up living with such a loon. By the way, my dogs are just "pets", they do not work sheep and I don't know if that chatter would impair that talent.

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I talk way too much. I live alone with the three dogs, so I'm guilty of talking to them. A lot.

 

I also talk too much when I run them in agility. I "cheerlead" too much, I blabber on, I say more than I have to -- I've noticed that when I *be quiet* they run far better because the actual commands I give aren't hidden amongst all the chatter.

 

As for obedient -- Well... My dogs have various levels of obedience. But more or less, when I use their name followed by COME NOW, they know to listen. In my house it seems that "come" means, "when I feel like it," but attaching the word "now" seems to have impact for whatever reason. I admit that I train pretty darn sloppy obedience skills. We do what we need to get by in life & agility. ;)

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Well, Daisy is the most obedient of the two. I've put a ton of work into her reactivity issues, so that's probably why. Riley and I are still working on a few things. :) He's a bit of a free spirit that one.

 

Anyway, I talk to my dogs ALL the time. They are great listeners and I think they like being talked to (and the belly rubs/chest scratches that follow). They know the words and tones that are important to them... walk, car ride, park, dinner, etc., etc. Sometimes Daisy watches me as I talk to her as if she's hanging off every word... no doubt she's just waiting for me to say something that means she gets a treat or a toy or some other instruction to do something, not really because she's interested in what I'm saying.

 

She has an automatic response (to look at me) when I say her name and I don't actually use her name that much, except when I want her attention for something. When I give them a command, it's not mid sentence and I only say it once. When we're training, I'm not having conversations with them, I'm teaching them and there really is minimal talking involved so that the commands are clear to them. None of this is for any particular reason, that's just the way things have evolved in our house. In our case random chatter has not ruined Daisy at least. Riley maybe... he's way more laid back than she is. Sometimes I think he was a surfer in a previous life. :)

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I have different levels of obedience in my house also but there are some commands that I don't tolerate lolly gagging with. Leave it and come are the two biggies. I use these when they may be putting themselves in harms way without even knowing it. So for this reason, there is no wiggle room with come or leave it. I too am guilty of chattering to the goonies not only at home but I chatter to Todd a lot at agility trials. I'm a cheerleader also but the same goes that he runs bette the quieter I am. I think some of the cheerleading is for my own benefit...okay most of it is :) I agree though that the chattering is in a completely different tone than when I give a command so they seem to easily distinguish the difference.

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Dean is my most obedient dog and I talk to him quite a bit. He enjoys hearing it. He knows the difference between "chatter" and directives. That is clear by his expression - and the fact that he responds to directives, and listens to chatter. The other day I was on the phone in the car when Dean was riding along. I said something about the crate and I saw him cock his head at me. The conversation was over a few minutes later, so I tried an experiment. I didn't even look at him, but said "crate" in a tone I would use when I want him to go into the crate. He got up, and got into the crate immediately. He definitely knows the difference.

 

My dogs hear me talk a lot because I talk on the phone when I'm at home quite a bit. And I talk about them when I'm on the phone. So, they hear their names out of a context where I am asking them to do anything.

 

But I also talk to them. I like to and they seem to like it. So I do.

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I used to be a "one command, no repetitions, no chatter" person. I had very obedient dogs. Now I talk to them all the time and I still have an obedient dog.

 

As someone else noted, tone of voice is important when issuing a command. I think dogs are perfectly well able to distinguish between chatter and a directive. I've heard people say that if you talk to a dog all the time they will simply tune you out and not respond to commands. I think if you natter all the time to a dog and there is nothing to clue the dog that your words have meaning, then the dog will start tuning you out. But if you make it your business to pair words with consequences for the dog, (good and not so good) the dog will listen to you when you are speaking and search for meaning in what you say. Dogs so spoken to will learn dozens (in some cases hundreds) of words. The bigger a dog's vocabulary, the more it will listen to you talk.

 

Rudd Weatherwax, the trainer of a dynasty of Lassies, talked to his dogs. Even his commands were given in a conversational tone. He was a very successful trainer of many breeds for show business. His dogs were versatile and responsive, happy workers. Bill Keohler was also a trainer of many breeds for show business and he also had happy, responsive workers. I'd say talk to your dogs if you enjoy it. It will have no bearing on their ability and willingness to take commands, as long as you make yourself clear as to expectations.

 

ETA: I talk to my cat too. I treat him much the same way I would treat a dog. Tone of voice is very important for him when issuing a command, but he has quite the vocabulary. He knows "be still, "get down," and "quiet," as well as a lot of more chatty things like, "do you want your hair brushed/to go outside/your dinner?" He also has a recall that's between 85% and 90%. He knows "leave it," and "Want this?" People have the idea that cats can't be trained, won't listen to you, or are "too independent." It's a lot of hooey. You get out of them what you put into them, just like dogs. If all you ever say to a cat (or dog) is, "Wuzza wuzza, who's mommy's pretty baby?" they will probably tune you out. I know I would! :)

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Dear Doggers,

A woman asked J.M. Wilson if she should talk to her dog.

 

"Of course you should, madam," he replied. "But talk sense."

 

Donald McCaig

 

Kathy Knox says the same thing. The first time I heard her say it was to someone who was always talking baby talk to their dog which was just making it wild and silly-not in a good way. If you talk sensibly to your dog, they will behave sensibly.

Laura

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I talk constantly to my dogs. My cues don't sound hugely different but my body language and actions, I think, must be pretty clear.

 

It's pretty dramatic when eight sleeping dogs explode into action.

 

Outside is usually the same, though the geography means it's easy to go out of earshot here.

 

I do say their names a lot, which may elicit a glance. But pitch/tone does make a huge difference.

 

And yes, I talk perfect sense to them. Even my "commands" are conversational. 95% of my social time is spent only with them to talk to.

 

Either I have to pretend they are people or I will start thinking I'm a dog.

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Thank you all so very much. It is quite clear from the replies that my chatter is not influencing obedience . I am glad because I don't think I could stop talking to Meg unless it was going to benefit her. I will try and talk sense for at least some of the time.!!!

 

So it seems that extending training period is the only way to improve response to commands , and this we will do.

 

Thanks again.

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Cheyenne was my trucker dog, and believe me, no dog has ever been talked to as much as she was! And that little dogs was as obedient as the day was long. The difference between talking a lot to your dogs and not, is that, IMHO, they learn English better. I can say things to my dogs as if they were a person and they "get it". If it's late at night and DH has gone to bed, and I go to the bathroom(an automatic signal that means I will throw the ball) Jackson will come in with a ball in his mouth, and I will say something like, "Don't even think about it, or No way, I ain't throwing it, or It's too late". Any of these he understands to mean, I ain't throwing the ball, and he will walk away. Just an example. In other words, to me, talking to your dogs enables them to know what your talking about without a "one word" command. Also, when Jackson is working, his mind goes to a whole nuther place and the stock commands are readily adhered to. Most of the time. :P

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My dogs aren't particularly obedient, but they do know what I mean and try to do it, with varying levels of enthusiasm. They get to know pretty quickly the two different tones of voice- the 'talking aloud to myself to sort out ideas, and addressing it to the dog' one and the 'hey, pay attention' one. I can give a command in a conversational tone of voice so long as I precede it with 'dog' or her name- "Dog, go up the stairs and wait for me".

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Dear Doggers,

A woman asked J.M. Wilson if she should talk to her dog.

 

"Of course you should, madam," he replied. "But talk sense."

 

Donald McCaig

 

 

Kathy Knox says the same thing. The first time I heard her say it was to someone who was always talking baby talk to their dog which was just making it wild and silly-not in a good way. If you talk sensibly to your dog, they will behave sensibly.

Laura

 

I like this ... both my husband and I talk to the dogs using real words and with all the dogs, we have found that they have learned words and commands that we never really trained, but used in conversation. A couple of examples are "up the stairs" and "in the truck". When my husband has the dogs at work his colleagues are still amazed, when he vaguely points in the direction of the truck and sends the dogs. A command that was never taught just learned from us talking to them.

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I like this ... both my husband and I talk to the dogs using real words and with all the dogs, we have found that they have learned words and commands that we never really trained, but used in conversation. A couple of examples are "up the stairs" and "in the truck". When my husband has the dogs at work his colleagues are still amazed, when he vaguely points in the direction of the truck and sends the dogs. A command that was never taught just learned from us talking to them.

Yes, dogs learn by "osmosis"; they just pick up words and phrases by context. I talk to my dogs quite a bit -- not just chatter -- and they seem to be better for it. Donald's anecdote about J.M. Wilson hits the nail right on the head.

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