Tuesday Topics #33 - Barking in Different Languages

Because Cabana doesn't bark very often, I kind of like hearing her bark. It lets me know she has a voice and can use it. Her bark is LOUD and deep and booming, so I guess we're fortunate that she doesn't bark much.

The one situation when Cabana ALWAYS barks is when I'm filling up her baby pool in the backyard. So this summer, I took advantage of this by teaching her to bark on command. She hasn't quite generalized the behavior yet, though. She will only respond when we're out on the porch, where we put her pool. At first, she would only do it when standing in the pool. But now, if I give the command outside a few times, even without the pool, then slowly move into the house, she will continue to speak when we're inside. But if I give the command inside first, she doesn't get it. So we've still got some perfecting to do.

In the video, Cabana follows my command to speak a few times, but at the end, I accidentally confuse her by telling her to sit instead of speak. She gives me a bark and then sits, after realizing that she goofed.

My husband thinks I'm asking for trouble by teaching her to speak, saying that it will encourage her to bark more. But I've heard that teaching a dog to speak lets you to have more control over when you want them to bark and when you want them to be quiet. Do you think that's true, or will I want to eat my own words?

In my "365 Dogs Page-A-Day" calendar, there is a page that translates "woof woof" in other languages. In all the languages, the word is doubled. But Cabana, being a dog of few words, usually only gives a single bark!

Russia - gav gav
Japan - wan wan
China - wang wang
Iceland -voff voff
Ireland - amh amh
Thailand - hoang hoang
Indonesia - guk guk
France - oua oua

In Korea, they say "mong mong". But Cabana must be speaking English, because I'd say her bark sounds much more like "woof" than "gav" or "hoang". Do you know how they say "woof" in any other countries?

Cassie and Dagan  – (September 14, 2010 at 11:28 AM)  

Great job Cabana! Too cute! I think you will be fine. I agree with teaching them something to help contol a behavior.

Dagan's woofs slur together and are only done with a toy in his mouth at meal times. It sounds vaguely like "I love you" we are hoping he can perfect this. How cool would be for him to tell me he loves me?? (Even if it only about a food bowl). He knows when the video camera is on though and refuses to perform.

L^2  – (September 14, 2010 at 11:46 AM)  

Haha... how fun! In German I think it's just Wuff Wuff (their W's are pronounced like V's). And in Spanish it's guf guf or guau guau or something like that. It's been a long time since I used either my Spanish or German though, so I could be wrong.

Oh hey, I just found a big list of animal sounds in different languages: HERE. :-)

As for the "speak" command. I don't really have any advice. Like you, I've heard both positives and negatives of teaching it. I've never bothered to teach "speak" to any of my dogs before, because I've never really seen a use for it other than just entertainment value.

Samantha  – (September 14, 2010 at 12:19 PM)  

Hi Cabana! Oh my, it has been too long again! You are such a talented girl and lucky Mom that you don't bark hardly at all. Just last night, Sam barked at NOTHING that I could see that was apparently outside. She barks a lot and it is super annoying! On the other hand, although she def. has her issues (haha!), Avalon doesn't hardly bark at all, thank goodness! Love your woof translations! How cool to know that! Hope to arrange to see you soon!
Hugs xoxoxo
Sammie and Avalon

Katrin  – (September 14, 2010 at 12:54 PM)  

The whole teaching them to bark on cue so that you have more control over the barking only works if you put it on stimulus control. So that means that you put it on a cue and train it so that the ONLY time she gets reinforced for barking is when you give the cue, and all other barking is extinguished through various means. Similar to stimulus control on any other behavior such as the dog only does the behavior when cued and it is not offered at any other time. Most people, when it comes to barking on cue, forget about training it to the degree that it is on stimulus control, since that takes time and work, so in the end the dog thinks they might get reinforced no matter when they bark, so yes they try doing it at random times and become more barky just to see if they will get rewarded for it even though you didn't ask for the behavior.

JackDaddy  – (September 14, 2010 at 2:06 PM)  

Jack barks when he wants attention. So he rarely barks at the house, but he loves to bark and embarrass me at the Pet store! :)

Erin and Co.  – (September 14, 2010 at 4:51 PM)  

Pompei is the barkiest SD i've had to date (Bubbles and Texas come hardwired to bark, its in their DNA GRINS)
He barks when he wants Texas to play with him, he barks when he's stuck outside on the porch, he barks if he thinks I"m home, and on one occasion barked in class, when I wasn't rewarding his "sit" fast enough. *eye roll*

However, I have managed to teach my dachshund to speak when ever I have treats, because he begans demand barking, if I just have them on me, and am not giving them too me.

Haven't quite figured out how to "re-train" that behavior.

Mango  – (September 14, 2010 at 5:27 PM)  

Oh do let us know how that works out because idiot PeeWee mainly just speaks when he sees the leashes come out and it is totally annoying. I think the idea of teaching them to speak on command is so that eventually you can also teach them when to be quiet.

As for me, the Mango will speak whenever he wants, thank you very much.


Kari in WeHo  – (September 14, 2010 at 5:35 PM)  

I have also heard that teaching them to bark can help get them to stop. Haven;t mastered either yet...


Emily and Joel  – (September 14, 2010 at 5:42 PM)  

"Speak" is a great way to control barking! I used it with Pepe and it worked like a charm :)

Alphini's Puppy Raiser  – (September 14, 2010 at 6:05 PM)  

Great video of Cabana, she's such an enthusiastic learner!! Fun about the different languages. Interesting how different cultural filters affect one's perception of something as basic as a dog barking! Alfie's not shy about barking, that's for sure, but only when there's (to him) a good reason: someone approaching the door, another dog stealing his toy, etc. I agree that when thoroughly trained, the Speak command and its partner, Quiet, can be useful!

Becky  – (September 14, 2010 at 8:28 PM)  

How fun -- you can tell she is so very happy to be showing off her bark.

Lisa, Ellie and Hosta  – (September 15, 2010 at 4:51 PM)  

WOW... how neat to think of how "Woof" is said in different languages. I'm doing a presentation at my mom's school for her English as a Second Language classes. Now I wanna open with that question!!!

I couldn't get the video to work, but Ellie has a big deep scary bark too - but she barks all the time at all things scary. I never could get her to learn "speak" though. I guess I just need a scary man to come around more (or NOT) ;)

Sierra Rose  – (September 15, 2010 at 8:20 PM)  

Nice!!! May have to ask more about the teaching method on this :)
Fantastic to see the language translations!!!!

Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
Sierra Rose

Vida de Vienna  – (September 19, 2010 at 11:24 AM)  

Cute Post! I would be afraid that teaching Cabana to speak will encourage barking. At least that is what happened when a friend of mine did that with my career change dog. Now it bothers me because she went from a completely quite dog, to one who barks!! Be careful with that one :)

Carrie and Waffle  – (September 23, 2010 at 12:45 AM)  

We taught Waffle to bark/sing on command, it comes in handy when she is barking we give the 'no talk' command and she gets the idea. On the whole though she really isn't that chatty to begin with.

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