As with the "conversation" with the relatives, whose growls can be a threat or a warning about the danger, communicating with people, the dogs listen to the intonation.
For them, she, not words, carries the most important information. Therefore, for the owners, it can be an effective tool that will help them during training - or will interfere.
To find out effect of intonation on animal learningConsider training as the process of forming reflexes and skills in a dog.
Simplified reflexes can be represented as a reaction that the animal’s nervous system associates with certain command signals. To bring the reflex to automatism, in addition to lightning-fast reinforcement of the team with encouragement or punishment and multiple repetitions, the necessary condition is the invariance of the "trigger" signal.
Obviously, the less the training of the same skill differs from each other, the faster the pet will learn it. It is also logical that the same conditions when teaching different teams will disperse the attention of the animal, lead him into confusion. The same applies to the voice of the host. First of all any intonation changes the sound of the original command. SecondlyBeing conjugated with the emotional sphere, it also makes changes in the content of the conditioned signal, saturating it with additional information "noises" that confuse the animal. After all, the dog is accustomed, with other repetitive circumstances and "scenery", to hear the "familiar" command, and the owner suddenly says it somehow differently.
How will the dog react to your changed intonation?
Due to the peculiarities of the nervous system, the animal can perceive words depending on the intonation coloring as “positively” or “negatively” motivating, as well as neutral.
The first group includes the so-called "positive" or "approving" voicewhich should, according to the owner, cheer the pet, focus its attention and inspire immediate and correct action.
However, contrary to the expectations of grief - the trainers, the intonation that the dog hears at each workout - quite often, soon ceases to be "motivating", because the animal gets used to it. To avoid this, you should use either a more effective mode of reinforcement (correct and exactly the same in time), or give the dog more meaningful encouragement than the one that was used before.
Another feature of the perception of our dogs intonation is that the team is of interest to them when the intonation is different from our usual manner of speaking. The reflex makes them alert and pay attention to the new sound information.
But curiosity quickly disappears or goes into other forms of behavior when the dog sees that we are not going to tell her anything new. For the same reason, the intonation is still not worth changing during training. So you destroy the associative chain in the head of the dog. After all, he was used to performing the command you give. And suddenly - you change the pace or timbre of speech, and the pet goes astray, not understanding what is happening, and when it turns out that the danger does not threaten him, he completely switches to something more entertaining. This behavior is called "stop reaction", and most often it is not the infantile nature of the dog that provokes it, but your carelessness to your own voice.
The “negative” intonation belongs to the second group of voice signals, which we use when we want the dog to understand how he should not act.
What happens when we "paint" a signal with a threat?
Obviously, threatening intonation needs least reinforcement. Animals from birth know that after aggressive words they need to change the type of behavior.
Moreover, threatening intonation, like any visible danger, includes defensive reactions in the dog caused by the instinct of self-preservation. The animal panic. Again, the "stop reaction" is triggered, and the team remains unanswered. However, sometimes the dog still reacts - obediently lies down or sits down, thinking that if you see his submission, you will stop being angry with him.
Of course, expect that in this way you can maintain the confidence of the pet, you can not. He will simply be afraid of you and may even get sick, because next to the owner, who constantly raises his voice, he will not allow himself to relax.
Thus, each of our team has at least three sound options, acquiring a different meaning for an animal depending on intonation. The trainer, who does not pay attention to the way in which he communicates with the dog, risks instead of getting the desired reaction to get a “stop” in the form of an indifferent or, on the contrary, frightened pet. Is there a "golden mean"? Of course. But only for the owners, attentive to their dogs. Remember that the voice is no less effective "tool" than the clicker or goodies - and use it wisely.