Best Language To Train Dogs
[The Definitive Guide]

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: January 17, 2022

As a dog trainer, one of my responsibilities is to teach pet parents how to train their canines. And that’s where communication and verbal commands play an essential role. You see, dogs are intelligent animals. While some breeds are smarter than others – all canines possess the ability to learn with the aid of oral cues

Your doggo must know how to link a specific command to the necessary behavior or skill. Some orders are relatively simple, like ‘sit.’ However, as your doggo’s training progresses, you can teach it more challenging actions like ‘fetch.’

Quite a few dog owners naturally assume that canines can only ever be trained using English. However, the truth is dogs can be trained in a variety of languages depending on the situation. 

For example, did you know that working dogs are sometimes trained with foreign language cues? As strange as it may sound, training professional work dogs in a foreign language – especially in crowded public spaces, can be a matter of safety. 

Quite a few adventurous dog parents I’ve met over the years also wanted to train their doggo in language that’s not their own. And, I’m all up for that, but the first order of business is educating yourself about the language you’ve picked out for Fido. Thankfully, that’s precisely what this article is all about. 

Why Should You Train Your Dog In A Foreign Language

Sometimes working dogs are trained in a foreign language because the canine is from another country, and continuing to train them in that language just helps it transition better. 

However, if your pooch was born and bred in the USA (or any other English-speaking nation), then you have the option of picking another language for your furball. 
Apart from that, there are quite a few reasons to recommend foreign command training in canines. If you’re curious about what they are, just scroll down and discover more. 

  • Safety

Picture this, you’ve taken your furbaby to the park for a fun game of fetch, but the space happens to be noisy and crowded. It’s natural for a canine to be distracted in such situations because there’s just too much going on around it. 

But, if you speak out a German or a French command in a sea of English speakers, you can be sure that your pet is not only going to hear you but also understand what you want it to do. That’s one of the biggest advantages of training your dog in another language. It’s safer and more effective. 

  • Convenience

Some languages have distinct accents, tones, and inflections. Why is that important? Because the more distinctive a language is, the easier it’ll be for your doggo to recognize different words

That’s also why so many folks in the working dog community prefer teaching their canines commands in French, Dutch, or German. It makes life easier for you and your pooch. 

  • Making A Fresh Start

Believe it or not, sometimes training your pet in a foreign language can help it adapt to a behavior that it wasn’t able to follow before. 

Nobody knows the science behind it or how a canine’s brain is wired to function – but teaching Fido the same skill in a new language can help the canine pick it up faster. 

However, it hasn’t stopped trainers like me from coming up with theories. A popular idea is that changing the language associated with the behavior a canine has difficulty with can do away with all the old associations or, perhaps, negative connotations. In other words, it’s a fresh start for your furball. 

  • Sheer Fun

Some people are naturally adept at picking up new languages. While others (like myself) sometimes struggle with the finer aspects of learning a foreign speech. 

But, you know what can really help you break away from the boredom of trying to pick up a language through rote learning – teaching a few words to your furry best friend. 

Aside from that, the very experience of working together with your doggo to learn a new speech simultaneously can build a stronger bond. Additionally, if your pet happens to be a brainiac like a Jack Russell Terrier – it’ll love you for the extra mental stimulation. 

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What Language Should You Train Your Dog In?

Some canine owners can be a little indecisive when picking a new language for their pooch. And, I get that people can be anxious about the challenges involved. 

However, remember that you’re training your dog to learn commands in a foreign speech that’s basically going to involve singular words, not entire sentences. 
Also, when picking a language to work on with Fido, it best to keep the following details in mind:

  • It’s best to select a language that you’re already somewhat familiar with, just to make the whole process smoother.
  • If you’re not bi-lingual, that’s not an issue. Go over several popular foreign language choices for canines, and pick the one you’re most comfortable with.
  • You must have some basic understanding of the commands you’re planning on teaching your furbaby. For that reason, you’re going to have to learn the necessary commands before your pooch. 

Now with the pesky technical details out of the way, let’s discuss your choices in terms of languages.

As I stated earlier, German and French are two of the most popular choices for canine training. However, Dutch and Czech are also pretty well-liked within the work dog community. 

And, though I don’t recommend it, there are dog parents who mix and match two different languages. Since verbal commands are taught with the help of visual cues, positive reinforcement, clicker training, etc. – you can teach your doggo more than one language at a time. 

But, it’s not going to be easy under any circumstances. Plus, it’s too much work for your canine. It’s highly recommended that you work with one language at a time

Popular Commands In English And Foreign Languages

I’ve decided to help my fellow dog enthusiasts by listing some of the most well-known canine commands in English, German, French, Dutch, and Czech.

If you’ve already decided on the language you want to go with, then you can use the list below to help familiarize yourself with the words (and their pronunciations).

Another pro tip is to look up these words online to understand how natives enunciate them. Even though I’ve provided phonetic pronunciations, listening to actual accents will help you remember them better. 

I’ve selected eleven of the most popular commands in 5 different languages for your viewing pleasure. And, they’re all arranged in a uniform manner so you can look at the words and decide which language suits you best. Ready? Here goes…

Frequently Asked Questions

Now, there are common queries that many new pet parents have. So, let’s go through some of them to eliminate the doubt factor.

  • What are the most basic commands that your dog must learn?

There are seven basic commands that dogs ought to learn to become good canine citizens. These commands can include sit, down or lay down, stay, come, heel, off, and no. These commands are not just crucial for your well-being. It’s essential for your safety too.

  • What is the best time to start training your dog?

The best time to start training your best bud is early. Young puppies have short attention spans. But, the earlier you start training, and socialization, the more well-behaved your beloved pet will be. 

You can begin to teach simple obedience commands like sit, stop, or no at an early age of 6 to 7 weeks. And, you will need to practice much perseverance and patience. But, in the long run, the hard work will pay off when your pup shows it’s perfectly pretty manners in front of friends and family and bring many accolades for you.

  • What is the first thing you should train your pup?

Most trainers recommend starting off with the training method known as capturing with young pups. You stand in front of your dog, issue a command such as sit if it obeys, then you give it a treat. This is the most basic kind of training that applies the use of positive reinforcement to teach your canine how to behave.

This technique also helps build a bond of love and trust between your fluff ball and yourself. So, your doggo will know that you are there to help your dog through any challenges it faces.