Message Us

Communication Fundamentals: How to Talk to Your Dog So That They Listen

Many of us enjoy talking to our dogs, but long winded conversational approaches to training are seldom effective.

Your dog doesn't understand when you lovingly tell it "˜Now Rover, you know mommy doesn't like it when you eat Fluff's cat food.' When you are training your dog, you can use your voice with your dog as a tool for communication but please be brief. "˜Leave It' might be a better cue for the above scenario. Communication With Your Pet Dogs and How to Properly Do It: Hand Signs and WordsIt is best to speak in a neutral tone of voice when giving your dog a cue, say things clearly, use as few words as possible, and don't repeat yourself. You can also use hand signs to emphasize the cue. An example of combining hand signs and voice would be saying the word "˜Stay' and at the same time holding up your hand flat toward the dog, like a police officer's stop hand sign. We recommend using both hand signs and voice cues, it can help clarify things for your dog. It is a nice training feature to be able to communicate with your dog about what you're asking of it visually or verbally.

Dogs need to know that the behaviors we request from them have names, and when we have them go through a motion and then name it, they can understand and attach the concept to the cue.

For example, if we're teaching a dog to sit for the first time it wouldn't be fair to the dog for us to expect it to automatically know what to do. It would be no help to the dog to hear the word "˜Sit' right off the bat if it had never heard the cue before. Imagine how it might be to have a language barrier and have someone just repeat a word over and over without giving you any clues about what they were saying. Wouldn't it be nice if they showed you the meaning of the word and then said it? We would better help the dog to learn by saying something like "˜Good' when the dog sits, usually through luring with a treat and giving them the treat when they are seated. After a few successful repetitions when the dog can successfully perform a "˜Sit' without a treat in the hand but still moving the hand as needed that is when we add the cue. To add the cue, simply say "˜Sit' and then follow up with the empty hand motion as needed. This helps them to understand that "˜Sit' applies whether or not we are showing them a treat. Please be sure to praise and reward during the desired behavior.

Another way we can use our voices is by giving marker words to let the dog if they're right, wrong, or released.

The marker word in the previous example was "˜Good.' It is best to give a marker during the behavior we want to influence. Markers should be clear, and we should use the correct tone of voice when marking a behavior. "˜Good' and "˜Yes' are common positive markers. Your positive marker should be said in a happy voice. "˜No' and "˜Hey' are common negative markers, they tell a dog the behavior they are doing is not one we want right now but those words don't mean we are going to scare or hurt them, just that they guessed wrong such as offering a "˜Down' when we asked for a "˜Sit.' We shouldn't yell negative markers, but instead our tone should sound neutral. "˜Okay' and "˜Free' are common release cues. Release cues are said in a neutral tone of voice and let the dog know they're done doing what we asked. If a "˜Stay' is until further notice, the "˜Okay' tells a dog they can get up. Release cues are similar to  the concept of a military "˜At Ease.' Everyone in the home should use the same words with your dog to minimize confusion. Communication and Dog Seat Covers: Cargo, Dog Bed Liner, Bed Cover: 30% Off Premim Seat Covers
krystal ellingsonKrystal Ellingson CDBC CPDT-KSA Krystal Ellingson CDBC CPDT-KSA, is the founder of Speak Dog, the first dedicated "˜positive' dog training company in the Tri-City area where she lives. She is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer with both Knowledge and Skill accreditations with the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers along with a list of other credentials, certificates, and affiliations.

Marketing by

Reviews From 4Knines Customers VIEW MORE »

The best evaluations of our products come from the people who’ve bought them.

Why Did I Wait So Long?

I should have bought these years ago. Easy to use, easy to clean, and tons of headaches saved in trying to keep a blanket or covering on the car seat when taking the dogs on the trails, camping, etc. Highly recommend.

Kathleen B.

Second Cargo Cover!

This is our second cargo cover for a new car! Our first cargo cover is 3 years old and still in excellent shape!

Kenny G.

Love these seat covers.

Love these seat covers.

Dina B.

Terrific product at a great price

I am beyond pleased with everything about my new 4Knines split rear back seat cover! The fabric is soft and attractive. The fit in my 2018 CR-V is perfect. Dirt just brushes off it, and water beads and wipes right off. It couldn't easier to put on and take off. This is a wonderful product at a great price.

Donna D.


We purchased seat covers, door covers and cargo area cover for our Honda Odyssey. Prompt service, fair prices and great quality. Overall a great company to do business with.

James M.

XL Back seat bench cover

Love our new purchase from 4Knines. We were looking for a back seat cover that would fit our new 2017 F250 crew cab and this one fits perfect. Highly recommend for those wishing to maintain their seats. The material is excellent quality and it’s quick and easy to put on and take off. We also have the bucket seat covers from this company for our 2015 Yukon Denali and have gotten a lot of use out of them over the last couple of years and they are still in excellent condition and so are our seats. Thanks 4Knines for a great product!

Amy T.

great product, sturdy, XL great fit for new 4Runner, cleans easy

I was worried this product might not hold up since one I recently purchased from another company ripped w/in 2 weeks from my 30lb Aussie pulling on it when trying to get into the back. I have been extremely pleased with the XL cargo liner. The straps are much more durable with more stitching and better fabric. I have a 50 lb Border Collie mix and 30 lb Aussie. They have already put the liner to the test!!! I have used it numerous times in the short 2 weeks I have had it. The XL was a great choice for my new 2017 4Runner. It allows me to strap to the front headrests and protect the whole back of the SUV. The skirt protects the bumper. It is too long when I only strap to the middle seats but I just fold under the extra fabric and still have the skirt. I use the full length most of the time and reason I got the XL. The fabric is sturdy and protected the back when the dogs spilled water. So far I have used it to haul bags of topsoil, go on a camping trip and visit family. I purchased the liner mainly to protect the back b/c we have flyball practice every week and tournaments every month. That's a lot of in/out for equipment, doggies and crates. I was very glad to see the edges fold up to protect the wheel wells. I am extremely pleased with this product and sorry I wasted money on my first purchase from other company. I have already recommended the liner to fellow flyball teammates. Shipping was great also. I ordered on a Sunday and it arrived Sat. So far I have just swept the dirt off and used a shop vac. Cleans up well and easy.

Kim W.


Great quality! Absolutely love it!

Lisa M.

For all general inquiries, please call or email us
Phone: 888.602.2509

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Nothing but the best for your best friend!
© 4Knines. 2017. All rights reserved | Terms | Privacy