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Be friendly for better results in training, research reveals

Dogs respond more accurately to commands when their trainers use a friendly voice rather than a harsh one, new research reveals.

A team from the Wolf Science Centre at the University of Vienna and the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerai, in Brazil, studied the way nine mixed-breed dogs behaved during 135 training sessions.

The researchers found that in the sessions in which more reprehensive speech was used the dogs showed more negative emotional signs – less tail wagging and less time spent next to the trainers – and they performed less well, making fewer correct responses to commands.

Study Author Melissa Bravo Fonseca said: “In view of our results, we believe that nice speeches have created a positive atmosphere, in which the animals might interact in a relaxed way, favouring the fulfilment of commands.

“The use of nice speeches [also] has the potential to attract the listener’s attention, increasing the social responsiveness of the receivers.”

The findings were published in the journal Animals.

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