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A Pet Owner's Guide to Foreign Language Dog Commands

Published on: April 3, 2017  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel

Woman training dogs to sit

Parlez-vous français? Tu parli italiano? ¿Hablas español? Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

Having a well-behaved dog in public is the epitome of good pet etiquette, no matter where you are in the world. It is essential to ensure that your furry friend understands English commands. However, what happens when you find yourself in a foreign country, and someone else starts speaking to or even yelling at your dog? Is it a matter of safety, an encounter with unforeseen danger, or is your dog simply bothering them?

Imagine you and your beloved pet are on your way to Italy. While it's important to familiarize yourself with the local pet etiquette, wouldn't it also be beneficial to understand common pet commands in the country? Not only will it be a fun experience teaching your dog a new language (and maybe learning a few words yourself), but you'll also be able to comprehend what other pet owners are communicating to their dogs.

Across Europe, dog-friendly beaches are becoming increasingly popular. Europeans love to have a great time with their furry companions on the sand and in the surf, but they also expect well-behaved dogs. By having your dog under control and using a few local commands, you and your pup are sure to leave a lasting impression.

When traveling to different countries, it's essential to understand the local customs and etiquette around pet ownership. However, being able to communicate with your dog using common pet commands in the local language can be an added bonus. Whether you're in France, Spain, Italy, or Germany, knowing a few key commands will not only impress other pet owners but also enhance your overall travel experience.

There's more than one way to say something

Remember, regional differences can affect the colloquialisms and preferred commands in different countries. Just like Spanish can vary from one country to another, French Canadian is not the same as Parisian French. Similar variations can be found within the United States and the United Kingdom. So, while learning commands in a foreign language can be helpful, it's always a good idea to be open to regional differences and ask for clarification when needed.

By familiarizing yourself with at least a few commands, you'll be better prepared to interact with other dogs and owners wherever you travel. Visual cues can also be helpful but don't hesitate to ask for clarification if you're unsure. Dog commands serve various purposes, from obedience to tracking and protection. In this blog post, we'll focus on basic obedience commands, as they are essential for pet travel.

Start with the most crucial commands: come, sit, down, and stay (or wait). These commands lay the foundation for a well-behaved dog. You can then expand your repertoire to include "protector" commands like yes, no, drop it, and leave it. When you're out and about with your pet, especially in a foreign country, it's crucial to ensure they don't pick up or mouth anything potentially harmful or inappropriate. Here are some basic commands in French, Spanish, Italian, and German.

French Dog Commands

  • Come: viens (vee-ehn) or ici (ee-see)
  • Sit: asseids (ah-see-ey) or assis (ah-see)
  • Down: couche (koosh) or coucher (koo-shay)
  • Stay: reste (rest) or pas bouger (pa-boo-zhay)
  • No: non (noh)
  • Yes: oui (we) or d’aqccord (dah-cor), which means OK
  • Good dog: bon chien (bohn she-eh) – for a female dog, it’s bonne chienne (bun she-enne)

Spanish Dog Commands

  • Come: ven or aquí, which means here
  • Sit: sentado (sen-tah-doe) or sientate (see-en-tah-tay)
  • Down: échate (eh-cha-tay) or abajo (ah-bah-ho)
  • Stay: quieto (key-ay-toe) or espera, which means wait
  • Drop-it: suelta (swell-ta)
  • Leave-it: déjalo (day-ha-lo)
  • Yes: si
  • No: no
  • Good dog: buen perro (boo-en pero, roll that r if you can!) – for a female dog, it’s buena perra

Italian Dog Commands

  • Come: vieni (vee-en-ee)
  • Sit: seduto (say-doo-toe)
  • Down: giu (jew)
  • Stay: fermo (fair-mo)
  • Yes: sì
  • No: no
  • Good dog: bravo cane (cah-nay)

German Dog Commands

  • Come: Hier (hee-er)
  • Sit: Sitz (sits)
  • Down: Platz (plots)
  • Stay: Bleib (bly-b)
  • Yes: ja (yaw)
  • No: nein (nine)
  • Good dog: gutter Hund (goo-ter hoond)

Ask permission before petting

Remember, it's important to ask for permission before petting someone else's dog, regardless of where you are. In France, you can politely ask, "Puis-je choyer votre chien?" If you're unsure of the specific wording in the country you're in, a petting motion with your hand and a simple "OK?" will usually convey your intention.

Dog trainers encourage using foreign commands

Interestingly, some dog training experts suggest teaching commands in a foreign language. The rationale behind this approach is that English commands are often used in various contexts, not solely directed at your dog. On the other hand, foreign-language commands are unique to your dog, increasing their attentiveness and responsiveness.

Cats can also learn commands

And what about our feline friends? Contrary to popular belief, cats can also be trained to follow commands. You can include your cat in your foreign language lessons, and while they may pick up on them, it's hard to say if they'll always follow through. After all, when was the last time your cat did something simply because you told them to? Unless, of course, it aligned with their immediate best interests.

Remember, embracing different cultures and languages can enhance your travel experiences, both for you and your furry companion. So, whether you're sipping espresso in Italy or enjoying tapas in Spain, take the time to learn some pet commands and appreciate the rich diversity of pet etiquette around the world.


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