What we say to our dogs is important. How we say it is crucial. Different tones of voice are used to distinguish between commands, corrections, and praise. Commands are given in a firm, strong tone of voice. No chanting please. Corrections get a little lower, sharper and growlier. Praise is more exuberant and excited – pleasant, but not so exuberant as to incite him to wiggle out of control.
All commands should be preceded by the dog’s name. How else will Rover know you’re talking to him? But even before that, you’re going to teach Rover to look at you. Trace a line with your index finger from Rover’s eyes to yours. As soon as he makes eye contact, talk to him and encourage him to sustain the eye contact for a few seconds with a “Good watch!” in a pleasant, upbeat tone of voice. You can also get Rover’s attention by taking a little tidbit of food after letting Rover sniff it, moving the food up to your eye level. When Rover looks up, praise him and give him the food treat. Now that you have his attention, he is ready to listen.