What is the best language to speak to animals in?

What is the best language to speak to animals in? I would think that certain languages are better suited for directing animals than other. Maybe their commands are more easily differentiated, or from an information theoretic point of view their sounds form a broader space. For example, to the ears of an English speaker, German sounds very strongly directive, while French sounds more flowing and softer – as if German has easily distinguishable syllables and the French ones tend to blend.

Is a tonal language harder to train animals in compared to another language?

You could prolly use Klingon, as long as the commands are short, clear, and different enough from one another. One or two short syllables. I am not a dog trainer, but I have trained dogs. And a cat.

It depends on the animal.

I find that white tail deer respond quite well to Winchester-Slug, especially in the first week of December. In the spring I talk to rabbits with boat-tail .270, and wild turkeys seem to perk up with 00 12 gage.

I love to talk to animals…

I speak Spanish to God,
Italian to women,
French to men,
and German to my horse.
Charles, Emperor. (1500-1558)

I’ve heard dogs respond best to words with two syllables or less. Their names particularly should be kept to two syllables although I’ve seen dogs with names greater than two syllables do just fine recognizing when they are called. Not being fluent in very many languages I’d speculate languages where words are more distinct would be best.

Of couse, you could try speaking to animals in their own language (no joke). I communicate with my dog in doggy symbolism and my cats in kitty symbolism and it is remarkable how clearly they respond to it. Of course, much of animal language is body language but it is communication nonetheless.

The language of Love works best. I had a puppy about 10 years ago and she finally taught me how to speak Patience. Communication has been quite profound over the years. I suggest Love and Patience.

A WAG, but maybe a language like Chinese is more effective. I’m guessing animals are listening more to the tone than the actual words, so presumedly a tonal language would be clearer to them.

And on a seperate note, does anyone else think Crafter_Man and jacksen9 would make great co-hosts for a really entertaining animal training show?

They actually train police dogs in German (even if the dog is used in teh USA). Believe it or not, German Shepherds trained in German. I think part of the rationale is so “bad guys” won’t know how to say “Heel!”

From the man who in fact CAN talk to animals

Use anything other than your native language. While some languages may have slight advantages over others [sharp sounds, shorter words, etc.], the real key is that it’s unfamiliar to you. Using a language you don’t speak everyday forces you to think about what you’re doing and helps to put you in a training mindset.

You’re also less likely to confuse the dog in everyday situations. A good example of this is “down.” If you walk into the living room and your dog is up on the couch, or your dog jumps up on someone, a natural response [for an English speaker] is to yell “Down!” But if your also using “down” as a command to mean “lay down on the ground” you’re going to start confusing the dog because now you’re using it to mean something else. But if you use “platz” to command the dog to lay down on the ground, and “down” for a heat-of-the-moment “get off of that” type stuff, he’ll pick up on the command much faster.

Another great example is “no.” Even if you choose to train your dog in English [or whatever language you use the most] you should pick something other than “no” to be your no-word. [Like “phooey” or “nein.”] Chances are you use no frequently in everyday speech [especially if you have small kids] and either the dog is going to become skittish because he thinks he’s doing something wrong all of the time, or he’s going to learn just to ignore the word.

Dogs are easier to train if you don’t expect them to understand context.

Tone only gives an animal an emotional context to put your message into but it doesn’t convey the actual message. Goofing around with my dog I’ve said, “Baaad doggy…you’re such a bad girl” in nice baby talk. My dog dutifully wags her tail and is all happy. She doesn’t understand the words but gets the emotional content from my tone. However, I can say “sit” anyway I please (happily or angrily) and she complies. In that case it is the actual word she is getting.

So, for actual commands to do something I don’t think tone matters much (except perhaps to indicate to the animal your seriousness in seeing the order obeyed). For expressing emotion (love, anger, fear, etc.) then it is all about tones. Still communication but not the same as getting the animal to do a specific thing.

I saw a woman on a daytime magazine show claiming she had “cracked” the cat language, speaking to some bemused feline in little “mrrs” and “preerrhhs” that supposedly represented “Do you want tuna or rabbit?” and “Would you like your ears rubbed?”

She claimed the cat’s noises back were comprehensible responses to her questions. I would swear the cat was saying “fuck off you stupid cow and get us off television before the white coat men arrive.”

We use sign language on ours & it works great. Saves work on the voice.

Sign language is definitely useful with animals. We use both verbal and sign language with our dog. The two reinforce each other. On occasion I’ve told her to sit and you can tell she knows what she’s supposed to do but she looks at you to see if you’re serious and if maybe she can avoid doing it. If I follow with our sign for sit she does so and if I say “sit” and use the sign at the same time she almost never wonders if she can avoid sitting and just does so.

I can only say that in regard to (my wife’s) cats, the only language they understand is the international language of food.

Although they have trained me in understanding basic cat comands (given by cats to humans) such as: “Let me out!,” “Let me in!,” “Feed me!,” “Get out of my chair!” and “Give me more food!” But as for cats listening to anything a human says…lost cause.


Gary Larsen’s take on this:

What we say to dogs" "Bad Ginger! No! Ginger, I told you not to mess with the trash! Bad dog, Ginger!

What dogs hear: "Blah GINGER! Blah! GINGER, blah blah blah blah blah blag blah blah! Blah blah GINGER!

I thought all animal languages were based on Pig Latin. :wink:

Gary Larsen’s take on this:

What we say to cats" "Bad Ginger! No! Ginger, I told you not to mess with the trash! Bad cat, Ginger!

What cat hears: “Blah blah! Blah! Blah, blah blah blah blah blah blag blah blah! Blah blah blah!”