I decided that for one week, I would only whisper to the dogs during the on-leash portion of our walks. It took me a few days to get into the habit, and I had to give myself a few reminders along the way.
What I noticed was that:
1. I was much more aware of the words coming out of my mouth. All the extra words went away. "Hey Loki, could you sit for me?" turned into just a whispered "sit". I think the dogs appreciated having a clear command and understanding of what I was asking for.
2. The tone of my voice become more even and unemotional. I wasn't overly excited or overly serious in my commands. Just a whispered "sit". I wasn't adding any extra emotion or energy to the command, and it kept the dogs calm.
3. It created such a wonderful experience for me. The act of being aware of the words coming out and the way they were coming out evened out my energies as well. Instead of being super excited for the walk, or super serious, I was balanced and smooth. Such beautiful walking!
My one week of whispers challenge has turned into a daily practice! It's too good to give up!
Try this at home:
Try only whispering to your dog around the house and on your walks. Notice if your dog's energy changes, and if yours changes too.
Side note: If you need to speak louder while your dog is off-leash, then obviously go ahead, but notice what energy your putting into it (excitement, urgency etc).
Thanks again, and as always
Holly, Duke and Jax