Benefits of Training a Pet in a Foreign Language
It’s Friday and I committed I would have another article for our blog almost a week ago. As I was working on a long list of things to do, I remembered that commitment. It’s 3:45 PM on Friday. I am determined to get out of the office by 5 PM today and I just thought of an article topic that might be fun. Training your dog in a foreign language.
I am fluent in Italian and lived there for two years doing volunteer work. My job was to speak with Italians all day, every day for two years. And while I became fluent, I had a bit of an accent, but I was often complimented on my command of the language. They were probably just being nice.
Fast forward a few years and I am married and have some kids and we got our first dog. My wife and I thought it would be fun to train the dog using Italian commands. It has been great. The kids enjoyed it and really learned the commands well. It also helped if we were in public, I could tell a child to “come here” or “sit” in Italian and it was like an inside joke between us.
As I was working on a landing page for our Chinese language services to help it rank a little higher and put some dog commands in the FAQ section as a type of easter egg for one of the three people that might visit that page this year. Most of our business comes from word of mouth, but we like to put things out there that some people might find interesting. So, as the Chinese dog training commands went and that spurred the idea to write an article about it.
I asked ChatGPT to take a shot at it and I didn’t like the output because parts were like an article in the Harvard Business Review. (Client of ours. shameless plug.) And other parts were just flat.
“Training a new furry friend can be a challenge. It requires patience, commitment, and above all, a common language between you and your pet. The International Translation Company (ITC) acknowledges this unique bond and has just the solution you need, especially if you’re trying to learn Chinese dog commands.”
Is anyone getting a little tired of hearing the same tone in the AI copy? Anyway, here are some things I like about what we did in our family and training the dogs in Italian.
Everyone learns a part of the language. It’s a small part, but the kids loved it and some of have continued the tradition with their pets. They really took some pride in knowing a little Italian and using it every day.
It feels like a special code between us. We use the Italian version of “hurry up” for the dog to go to the bathroom. It’s kind of funny to say it to a child because at first glance, they relate it to the dog going “potty”. But then they connect the dots and realize you are telling them to hustle not go to the bathroom where they are standing. [Grin]
Building their vocabulary. I found that I could add words to the family vocabulary pretty easily as an extension to the commands.
Strengthen family ties. This is like the special code, but it’s something we all have in common that they don’t have in common with anyone else. And it’s a fun thing to have in common. Adding that to the family culture helps separate the family from everyone else in a positive way. Unlike the fact that we typically work on the farm every Saturday, which was not always regarded as a positive aspect of our family culture.
Problem Solving. In our case, with the limited number of commands, I am not sure how much it applies, some say it knowing a second language improves problem solving skills. It’s likely related to having a different perspective and the exposure to something unusual.
A different culture. So, we do a lot of things that are Italian. The language is just one of them, but they all come together to help us think of other cultures, other ways of life, etc.
So, having talked about Italian, let’s have an awkward transition to Chinese phrases that could be used as dog commands. Here are some I dug up. I don’t speak Chinese, but I am sure your dog (or cat, or fish or ant farm) or kids won’t mind if your list isn’t perfect.
I did try to get the phonetic pronunciations simple enough, but with a little YouTube and you can get as good as you want at saying them correctly.
Training Your Dog: Useful Commands in Traditional Chinese
Here are 20 commands in Chinese you can use to train your dog.
Sit – 坐下 – Zuo Xia (Zwoh Shee-ah)
Stay – 等一下 – Deng Yi Xia (Deng Ee Shee-ah)
Come – 过来 – Guo Lai (Gwoh Lie)
Good Dog – 好狗 – Hao Gou (How Gow)
No – 不可以 – Bu Ke Yi (Boo Kuh Yee)
Down – 趴下 – Pa Xia (Pah Shee-ah)
Fetch – 拿回来 – Na Hui Lai (Nah Hway Lie)
Leave it – 不要碰 – Bu Yao Peng (Boo Yao Pung)
Quiet – 安静 – An Jing (An Jing)
Go outside – 出去 – Chu Qu (Choo Koo)
Heel – 靠近我 – Kao Jin Wo (Kow Jin Woh)
Lie down – 躺下 – Tang Xia (Tahng Shee-ah)
Wait – 等待 – Deng Dai (Deng Dye)
Roll over – 翻滾 – Fan Gun (Fahn Goo-en)
Shake hands – 握手 – Wo Shou (Woh Sho)
Stand up – 站起来 – Zhan Qi Lai (Zhan Chee Lie)
Off – 下来 – Xia Lai (Shee-ah Lie)
Drop it – 放下 – Fang Xia (Fahng Shee-ah)
Go to bed – 去睡觉 – Qu Shui Jiao (Koo Shway Jow)
Bark – 叫 – Jiao (Jow)
“Please note that these phonetic pronunciations are an approximation, as some Chinese sounds do not have an exact equivalent in English. It’s recommended to listen to the actual pronunciation for the most accurate learning.”… Thanks a. i. …..
Oh, and let us know if you need anything related to languages. It’s what we do and what we love! We offer language services in over 230 languages and our clients keep us busy so we must be doing something right. Feel free to contact us.