Things you might say to a dog, in Spanish

We recently got a dog who had been raised by people who primarily spoke Spanish. We think he might be confused because he’s learned to respond to certain words in Spanish, but we are saying things to him in English, and he doesn’t understand. We thought that he’d understand our tone of voice and body language, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. My husband and I have taken Spanish (Him in high school, me in college) but we can’t remember anything you might say to a dog, except “aqui” (here). He doesn’t seem to know that one. Just on the off chance it might work, what are some Spanish words and phrases you’d most likely say to a dog?

You could try “Ven!” for “Come!”

Foreign trained police dogs learn new English commands very quickly, although some people choose to learn the foreign commands. I would just retrain the dog. Repeated attempts to guess Spanish phrases will likely be more of a problem in the long run.

Cierre su boca, o le golpearé con una roca.

“Sienta” or “sientate” for sit.

La Vaca dice “moo”

The cow says “moo”

What? You might need to say it to a dog.

It’s all I remember from high school spanish.

Quedate for stay
Pata(paw) for shake
Ven for come
Aquestate for down
Sientate for sit
busca(search) for fetch

That’s about all my dog knew how to do.

My mother is a Spanish teacher and I’ve taken Spanish for 5 years, so we trained our dog in Spanish. I’m going to try to write these out the way they should be pronounced.

see-EN-ta-tay: Sit
KAY-da-tay: Stay
Ben a-KEY: Come here
Es-STRETCH-a-tay la PA-ta: Shake (literally, stretch out the paw)
DA-me(insert object name here): give me ____

Why are you addressing a dog in such a formal manner?

A few years ago my neighbors dog was a real barker. I asked my friend at work, a Mexican American, what I should yell at the dog. I couldn’t remember his response exactly, so I looked on Google. It’s sorta close.
Formal how? what precisely did I say? I didn’t know you could say “shut your mouth” in a formal manner. :slight_smile:
He also told me that people in Mexico, in general, have a different attitude toward their pets.

You were using the formal, or polite (usted) forms, rather than the familiar tu forms, which would normally be used in addressing an animal.

tu boca
te golpearé

1: Wouldn’t it be Cierra, not -e, because you don’t use the subjunctive with / vosotros commands?
2: Also, isn’t it more common to use a reflexive verb + definite article (“Me lavo las manos”) instead of the possessive (“Lavo mis manos”) for body parts?
3: Wouldn’t you use (if you were staying with usted) lo instead of le, because golpear is a verb that takes a direct object?

I only ask because I’m learning Español and I want to make sure I’m getting it right – I’m thinking it’d come out as ¡Ciérrate la boca, o te golpearé con una roca! I’m bugging you for the same reason I bother all the hispanohablantes I come across when I hear something that doesn’t jive with what I’ve been taught.

As to the OP, I use the following with my dogs:

¡Cállate! = Shut up! (singular. Group: ¡Cállense!)
¡Siéntense! = Sit down! (to the group – singular would be ¡Siéntate!)
¡Caminen! = Walk! (to the group, when they stop and smell stuff while we’re out – singular would be ¡Camina!)

And I’m assuming I’ll have one of the Spanish-speakers by in a minute to tell me I’m doing it wrong.

You know, the title of this thread sounds like a question on Family Feud … .

¡Oh, mi Dios! ¡Caiga a bebé! ¡Lance a bebé!

For the roca guy, what the neighbor said was probably “cierra la boca o te daré con una roca”.

  1. “cierre” would be usted, which is the polite form.
  2. in spanish it’s not “your” body part, it’s “the” body part. It usually won’t be somebody else’s head that’s hurting me, or somebody else’s mouth that I’m closing.

If a word has a ´ that’s the strong syllable. If there is not and the word ends in a vowel, then the strong syllable is the one before last (senTAdo). In Spanish there are only 5 vowel sounds (in English there are 11). According to my Collins, the a is like in cat, the e like in ferry, the i like the y on ferry, the o like “oh!”, the u like balloon but short.

siéntate, sentado, aquí (pointing down to the spot where you want the dog seated, and pushing his butt down for emphasis if he doesn’t get it): sit down.

túmbate, tumbado: lie down. push down butt first, and once he’s seated, keep one hand on butt and push down with the other on his shoulders

baja: get off the darn sofa/my lap.

ahí no!: not there!

dame, dámelo: give me what you have - don’t use for fetch

trae: fetch, pointing to what you want fetched (pronounced TRAe, two sillables, and don’t roll that r)

comida: food

perro: dog (roll the r)

deja tranquilo al gato: will you stop bothering the cat

perrito bonito, perrito guapo: you’re such a cute little doggie

Besame, for ‘kiss me.’


In this sentence, “tu boca” would be completely ungrammatical. It has to be “la boca”.

Yeah, I know it’s ungrammatical. However, the construction is used colloquilally.

e.g., the lyrics to “De Tu Boca,” by Juan Luis Guerra:

No, not in the place you used it it’s not. I’m using “ungrammatical” in the linguistic sense - it refers to sentences that simply would never be spoken by a native speaker. “Ungrammatical” doesn’t describe sentences like “I ain’t doin’ that” - this is a perfectly grammatical sentence that would be understood by any native English speaker.

The song doesn’t use “tu boca” in the same sense you did. If a body part is used as the object of a verb as in “ciérrate la boca”, attaching a possessive to it makes it sound truly bizarre to a native speaker (this according to my (Argentine) Spanish linguistics prof). I might be overgeneralizing slightly with the ‘rule’ I stated above - I’d have to spend some time thinking about it to see if body parts can, in some circumstances, be modified by possessives when used as direct objects, but in sentences like “Ciérrate la boca” you simply can’t use “tu” there.