There are many reasons you might decide to train your dog in German. Dogs have a limited vocabulary, and some people find that dogs are more responsive to words they only associate with them, like ‘walk’ or ‘food.’
Of course, it’s equally possible you have a dog that enjoys its food and its walks but feels no compulsion to sit—if that sounds like your dog, training them using German dog commands might be more effective than English.
It’s also an excellent way to practice a language. And since from the early 20th-century onwards, the Germans put time and effort into training dogs for everything from war to police work, there’s a wealth of German dog commands to draw on.
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German Words for Dog Training
Some dogs are indeed stubborn. Certain breeds like Westies or Dachshunds are notorious for their small size but generously portioned opinions. But it’s also important to remember that when you’re choosing dog commands, consistency is key.
That means that every time you tell your dog to sit, they earn a treat. It sounds easy, but sometimes, your dog will hear you use one of those command words out of context. Perhaps you invite guests to sit or want your toddler to learn to sit at the table.
A dog, hearing these invitations, might also sit. But if you don’t reinforce the behavior, they get discouraged and stop responding.
That’s where German words for dog training come in. You’re much less likely to use these out of context. That prevents confusion in your dog and speeds up the training process.
So, let’s have a look at some German dog commands.
Sit in German for Dogs
The German dog command for ‘sit’ is an easy one. It translates to ‘setzen.’
Note that the S is unvoiced. That means that you pronounce it like zed. That only leaves the question of the unusual tz letter combination in the middle.
The best way to make this sound is to turn the zed into a sibilant S.
Alternatively, the shortened ‘sitz’ is also acceptable here.
Whatever you decide, the important thing to remember is that your dog doesn’t need you to speak impeccable German. They just need to recognize the German dog commands.
German Command for Heel
Heel is another useful command, especially if you’ve got dogs that pull on the leash or get easily distracted chasing squirrels.
The German dog command for ‘heel’ is fuss. When pronouncing this dog command, turn the U into an oo sound.
German Dog Command for Come
When we first started using German dog commands, most of our vocabulary came from singing German lieder. So, when we wanted the dog to come, the word we used was simple. We said komm, which is German for come.
It’s a nice, unfussy German dog training word that’s close enough to the English you can say it without thinking.
But it’s not the only word that works when calling a dog to you. The other German word applicable here is ‘hier.’ Remember, in German, when you get two vowels side by side, you say the second one.
So, you pronounce ‘hier’ as heere.
German Training Word for Stay
Stand in German is bleib. Remember, as with other German words, the second vowel is the one you pronounce.
So, bleibe rhymes with ‘gibe,’ not ‘glib.’
German Dog Command for Stand
In German, steh is the dog training word for ‘stand.’ Confusingly, you pronounce it like ‘stay’ in English, except that The S s sounded like an SH.
Dog Training word for Down in German
Platz is the German dog command for ‘down.’ That -tz combination is back. Otherwise, you can say the word as written.
German Command Word for Drop It
Knowing this German word for dog training is helpful if you have a dog with a nose for everything. Our dogs are always getting into everything, and persuading them to leave that interesting leftover lunch, animal, or plant behind is a regular part of our walks together.
The German command word for ‘drop it’ is ‘aus.’
‘Aus’ sounds the way you’d expect. But the way the -au diphthong sounds, it’s helpful to imagine there’s a W in the word.
The other German command word you can use here is lass es, said ‘loss es.’ It means ‘leave It’ and, with the right cue from you, will convince your dog to leave whatever they’re investigating alone.
Good Dog for Dogs in German
Most of these German command words have been imperatives that get your dog to do a particular thing. But arguably, there’s no more important dog command than ‘good dog.’
It lets your dog know you approve, and they’ve done a good job following orders. But how to tell Fido he’s a good boy in German?
The German dog training word for ‘good dog’ is braver hund.
Note here that the V sounds like an F, and the D in hund is more like a T.
German Attack Dog Commands
While these aren’t German dog training words you’re likely to use often, some people do train their dogs to be guard dogs.
Not all dogs can be trained to guard or attack on behalf of their people. When they can, it offers a sense of safety to their humans. Here are some of the German command words you can use when training your dog to guard you and your home.
German Command Words for Attack or Take Hold
Hopefully, this is a dog training word you never need to use. Typically, it’s used by dogs with full-time jobs, like police dogs.
Since police dogs often come from overseas, it saves everyone time if the handlers can pick up the dog’s training words and not the other way around. The German dog command for ‘attack’ or ‘take hold’ is fass.
The A in the middle is long, but otherwise, there’s no trick to it—unless you want to start splitting hairs over S sounds.
Word for Guard for Training Dogs in German
Pass auf is the German dog training word for ‘guard.’ You say it as written, making it an uncomplicated dog training word to learn.
Depending on whether you’re telling your dog to keep vigil or actively take up a protective stance, there are other words that you can use in this context.
Pass auf is ideal if you want your dog to actively guard you. But if you want your guard dog to keep a lookout, achtung can also work.
This German dog command is a bit of a mouthful because the CH is aspirated. That means that instead of pronouncing it as you would in ‘cheese’ or ‘chips,’ you place it much further back in your throat.
It’s a funny consonant cluster to learn, but again, the dog doesn’t need textbook German, just consistency. Achtung means ‘watch’ and is an excellent way to train your dog to stay alert and watch the surroundings for you.
German Attack Commands: Bite
Another German attack command is ‘bite.’ If you’re training your dog in German, you have options again. Both fass, which we discussed earlier, and packen can be used to train your dog to bite.
You pronounce packen exactly the way it looks, so if you want to make a distinction between commands for attacking and biting, then packen is the dog training word to opt for.
Dog Training Word for Growl in German
But you may not always need your dog to be aggressive. Sometimes growling is enough. That means that if you’re training your dog in German, the other command word you need to know is the German for ‘growl.’
In German, ‘growl’ is brummen. Note that the U is more like a short O, but otherwise, you say it the way you’d expect to.
German Command Word Jump for Dogs
If growling isn’t enough, jumping can be an effective intermediary step between that and outright attack.
German Dog Training Words: Stop
This is another useful training word if you’re teaching a dog to guard or attack for any reason. Stop in German is halt. No pronunciation tricks, just say it the way you would the English equivalent.
Dog Training Words in German: No
Even if you don’t know much German, chances are you’ve heard this German dog training word in other contexts. ‘No’ in German is nein. You pronounce it ‘nine,’ and it’s a great all-purpose training word because you can use it for much more than an attacking dog.
It’s perfect for dogs that dig up the flowers, gnaw the furniture, and guilt-trip you into feeding them scraps from the table.
Conclusion For German Dog Commands
There are many German command words out there you can use to train your dog. Our favorite is ‘ruhig’ for ‘quiet’ because our dogs are magnificent barkers.
But there’s a comprehensive vocabulary you can choose from. Whatever you pick, be consistent. And don’t agonize over pronunciation. Chances are your dog speaks as much German as you do.
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