How To Teach A Dog To Say I Love You?
[We've got the answers]

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: January 17, 2022

Now that your furry friend has become an inseparable part of your family, why not teach them a little about reciprocity? Yeah, I know you are tired of saying “I love you” to your dog and not getting a single “woof” back.  

But this will all soon be part of the past, because today I will share with you a practical and straightforward way to teach your canine pal to say those sweet three words.

I am not saying that you will make your dog actually speak and pronounce words,  but I will tell you this, if you follow the steps I will lay out for you,  you will get them to respond when you ask them to say, “I love you.” And while you will not hear words from your dog, you will get the three most tender barks that you have heard in your life.

Like for all things, patience is required. But not to worry, things will certainly pay off. And even though it takes a little practice, you will be amazed at how fast your dog can learn. 

Without further adieu, let’s get into it.

Can A Dog Really Say " I Love You?"

A dog can bark for many reasons: they are hungry, they want to go for a walk, or they just heard a strange sound; also, there’s the reason that well… They are dogs. But to make things crystal clear, when I say that you can get your dogs to speak, their response will be a bark, not human words, obviously.

Even though dogs cannot speak, they can express love in many ways. In this way, dog training can be very rewarding because when you do it right, you will notice how compliance from your dog is canine love expressed in its purest form.

But before you get any deeper into it, as a trainer, I do not recommend that you teach this trick to a puppy because then, the problem will be to make them quiet. As puppies, dogs are overly active, and adding barking skills to the mix is less than ideal. 

The Basics Of Dog Training

If you are a loving puppy parent and are new to dog training,  it’s important that you focus on creating a relationship based on love and trust. That’s why  I recommend sticking to ‘positive reinforcement’ techniques, which are not only effective but also take care of the bond between you and your dog, not to mention their physical and psychological well-being.

But if, on the contrary, you already know your way around dog training, you can just go ahead and skip this section. However, you might find some useful tips and advice here, so I recommend reading through it.

Here are the most essential commands to teach your dog:

How To Teach A Dog “Look At Me”

This is a basic but very important command for a successful and easy training process.  It’s absolutely crucial to teach your dog to get their attention on you before moving on to move advanced commands. 

To teach your dog, “look at me,” get their attention by clapping your hands, snapping your fingers, waving at them, or simply calling their name. When the dog looks at you, reinforce their compliance with positive voice markers like “yes,” “good,” “good job,” etc.; finally, reward them with a treat.

Repeat this process several times from a distance and also standing in front of the dog. It’s important to test their compliance with different degrees of difficulty.

How To Teach A Dog To “Sit” 

Use your dog’s favorite treat and hide a little piece in your hand to arouse their interest; get them to start looking for it; gently move your hand to their nose, pushing it back slightly until their bottom hits the floor. Now, use a positive voice marker and reward with a treat.

Repeat this drill several times. If your dog fails to comply or gets a little stubborn, go outside for a quick walk or play session. Dogs are sometimes moody, a little lethargic, or overly active. Getting them to move around a little before training is a good way to get them interested in the training.

How To Teach A Dog “Leave it.”  

Let your furry friend know you have a treat in your hand;  close it and place it near your dog, new enough to pique their interest but passively enough not to make them think you want them to go after it.

Only when you see the dog turn his head away or refrain from approaching your hand should you reward them. The key to making progress is to catch those brief moments of compliance and reward on the spot; don’t expect full compliance during the first sessions. Patience is key.

How To Teach A Dobehavior Down”.

This command is a sign of good behaviour and also a good way to signal to your dog when it’s time to calm and relax.

What you need to do is simple, just hold a treat near your canine pal’s nose and lure them into the floor. If needed, gently press your dogs’ head until you get them to fully lie down.

Reward with a treat and reinforce with phrases like “yes” or “good dog,” always in a cheerful tone. Now repeat this process using the command “lie” or “lie down:” practice until your dog has associated these words with lying down.

Dog Training Tips

  • Before kicking off training, get the excess energy out of your dog by having a short play session or walk 
  • The first step is always getting your canine pal’s attention 
  • Find a quiet and safe space for your training sessions 
  • Use a chewing toy to help you create a good bond with them 
  • Put your dog on a leash for better control 
  • Be open to contact and cuddles. Dogs are more responsive to loving and positive stimuli 
  • Get in the right mindset. Avoid teaching your dog is you are not willing or in a bad mood 
  • Try a variety of treats on your dog and use their favorite for training. Keep the portions small; your aim is not to feed them but to keep them interested and engaged 
  • In the beginning, reward the slightest signs of compliance, then you can start being more demanding

As a final tip, keep your eyes open during the whole process to how your dog reacts to training. All dogs are different, so getting to know your pup is key to applying what works and ditching what doesn’t. 

It’s also important to understand your dog’s learning curve so ,you are able to demand from them what they are able to give. A good owner knows their dog, right?

How To Teach My Dog To Say "I Love You" (In 3 Simple Steps)

Teaching your dog to speak sounds easier now, doesn’t it? These are the three simple steps you need to follow:

Bark At Your Dog

First, you want your dog to vocalize before learning to “speak.” Hold a treat in front of them, call their name, or clap your hands till you have their attention. What you´re going to do now is bark at your canine pal and when they bark back at you, reward them immediately.

Make sure to be extra perky and energetic at the time of rewarding your pet. Also, don’t forget to use friendly voice markers.

Teach Them  “Speak”

Now say “bark” or  “speak” to let your pet know that’s the command you are teaching them. It will take them a while to get the hang of it at first; if they already respond when you bark at them, try switching from barks to “speak” until they get it. 

The moment they bark after you command them to speak, you know what to do.

Teach Them “I Love You”

To teach your dog to say “I love you,” use this command after saying “Speak” like this:

Say “Speak” and wait until your dog barks back; now say “I love you” and wait for anything sounding remotely similar to three consecutive barks. 

It’s very important to be consistent when teaching“I love you” and wait for those three vocalizations. In order to teach them right, you want to reward them only when they bark three times; anything else will be confusing to them.

A Final Word

As I mentioned previously, your dog might have a hard time getting it at first, but if you are consistent and clear on your commands, they will get the hang of it faster than you think.

An additional suggestion I would give us is when your dog already knows “I love you,”  teach them “quiet” — it’s just as easy (an important)–You will just need to reverse-engineer the process you just learned.

Whenever your dog is barking undesirably, call their attention using the techniques you already know and look for brief moments of silence or compliance; use a proper voice marker and reward them with a treat right after they become silent.  Now repeat the same process, only this time using the command “quiet.”

The results of positive reinforcement training are almost instantaneous when applied right, and it works much better when you constantly use a friendly tone of voice rather than a dry, unemotional one. So make sure to turn the perkiness up before each training session, your dog will appreciate it.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, love can also be animal. And with this new ‘trick,’ you can now show it to the world! Just be patient, practice, and enjoy.