I’m not an expert dog trainer, but believe it or not, I did somehow teach my previous dog how to say ‘I love you’. Now if you heard her, you might argue whether she said “I love you” or “Raw waw waw”, but at least you wouldn’t be able to deny there were THREE syllables! Well, I’ve been trying to teach this now to Hershey, our chocolate Lab here at work. She’s been more of a challenge, however! Every morning I come into the office and we go through the same routine. I pull out the little biscuit pieces and ask her to say ‘I love you’. What I’m looking for in the beginning is a very quiet, controlled bark. That’s what is to be rewarded. After that, you can start ‘shaping’ the kind of sound that comes out. Well, right now she can’t seem to regulate anything between a loud startling bark, and an almost inaudible whine. Who know, maybe dogs vocal chords are different? Anyway, I’ve resorted to treating her for the whine, which I’m starting to get now a little more on cue. I hope to get her to whine a little louder next, and faster on cue. Then I can start shaping a double syllable.
Little by little, and lots of patience. I’ll keep you updated!