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Dog Commands in Japanese

Published on: August 2, 2017  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel

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The Japanese have an undeniable affection for pets. Nowhere else (except perhaps Disneyland itself) will you find a skyscraper adorned with enormous depictions of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Nowhere else will a cat gain fame for its self-taught ability to ride the subway every day. And of course, we can't forget Hello Kitty, the international children's rock star. Dogs are equally cherished.

If you're planning to move to Japan with your furry friend, you can rest assured that you're entering a pet-friendly environment. However, there are certain aspects that may be different compared to your current living situation. For instance, as a foreigner in Japan, you may not yet speak the language.

Pets have it made

Dogs and cats have their own special way of communicating with each other, using a universal language of sounds and body movements. You never have to worry about your furry friend's ability to connect with their own kind. And when it comes to communicating with you, your pet has their own unique language that you've come to understand. Well, most of the time, anyway.

But what about human-to-pet communication? Presumably, your pet already understands your native language. (If not, it's time to start training now. After all, there's nothing more unwelcome in a new country than a pet who is out of control. Especially in a culture like Japan's, where good manners are highly valued.) However, it might be interesting for you to learn what local dog owners are saying to their pets - or even yours. You can practice these basic commands, which are shown in both hiragana (characters) and romaji (anglicized version), with their pronunciation:

  • Sit  おすわり osuwari (oh-soo-WAH-ree)
  • Stay まて! mate (MAH-tay)
  • Lie down ふせ fuse (foo-say)
  • Come こい koi    
  • Come (kinder version)  おいで oide   (oh-EE-day)
  • No だめ dame (DAH-may)
  • Drop it はなせ hanase (hah-nah-say)
  • Good dog! いいこ iiko (eee-ko)
  • Hand    おて ote (oh-tay), used like “touch” command 

Who needs to speak Japanese when you have the perfect excuse to mingle with other pet owners and learn dog commands in your new language? Let's be real, when was the last time your cat actually obeyed a command? It's more like she's the boss and you're her loyal servant, fulfilling her every whim.

Once you connect with fellow pet owners (thankfully, there are plenty of places to do that), you can observe and absorb. And if you need to ask questions, don't worry - hand gestures work wonders. It's a fun way to learn and bond with others. Plus, you'll be pleasantly surprised by how many Japanese people speak at least some English. And to make things even easier, many signs display both English and Japanese characters.

Pets in Japan have a world of luxury awaiting them

If your furry friend has a taste for fashion, they will be in heaven with the abundance of stores offering outfits for every occasion, even including pajamas and pantaloons. And don't worry if your pet prefers to go au naturel, because Japan has a fantastic selection of dog cafés to indulge both you and your four-legged companion. While your beloved pup may never have experienced the delights of doggie bento, you can be certain that they will develop a newfound appreciation for it.

You may face challenges beyond the language barrier

Despite the significant increase in the Japanese pet population since 2003, finding pet-friendly rentals can still be a challenge. Building owners are often concerned about potential damage caused by pets. However, the growing demand for pet-friendly accommodations has led to the emergence of more living communities that welcome pets, some even providing amenities like dog play areas.

It's important to note that the accommodations in Japan are generally smaller compared to what you may be accustomed to. The country values compact living spaces, but interestingly, this doesn't deter pet owners with larger breeds. So, if you have a big dog, there's no need to worry. Your pet will simply need to adjust to the smaller indoor space, and you can take steps to help them acclimate to their new surroundings.

When out in public, both you and your pet are expected to demonstrate exemplary behavior. It is essential to keep your dog on a leash at all times. Additionally, a Japanese dog trainer suggests carrying absorbent "pee pads" and poop bags with you when you leave home. This ensures that you are prepared for any situation and can maintain cleanliness and consideration for others.


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