If you find yourself wondering, “How do you say ‘sit’ in Japanese,” you’ve come to the right place! Japanese culture is a big fan of pets, especially ever-loyal canines. Their language is full of Japanese dog commands that are a breeze for the owner to learn.
Once your new puppy settles in your home, the real fun starts: obedience training. Watching your sweet, wet-nosed puppy learn new things is so exciting, and it’s the perfect way to bond with your new best friend while still teaching them proper behavior.
Teaching your dog Japanese dog commands is more than just a fun way to stretch your linguistic skills. It’s also an opportunity to ensure that Fido is never confused during your dog park outings, where all the other owners give commands in English.
Whatever your reason for doing so, teaching dog obedience commands in Japanese requires a little work on your part too. First, it’s good to understand how dogs learn. Then, you have to nail Japanese pronunciation. Only then can you dive into teaching.
Don’t worry, though! We’ve put together a quick start guide to make the process go smoothly, making it an enjoyable experience for you and your dog.
How Does Dog Training Work?
Depending on the dog breed you’re working with, dog training can be difficult. Some, like the Border Collie and Australian Shepherd, are naturally intelligent. That’s the case for many working dogs, as owners breed them specifically to be task-oriented and obedient.
Other breeds, such as the Akita and Shiba Inu, are more stubbornly independent. While they are very capable of learning, they tend to push back against commands and make their owners work a lot harder to earn their trust.
All dogs are capable of learning, though! Your canine companion engages in three different types of learning: instinctive, adaptive, and obedience.
From the moment they are born, dogs have naturally ingrained instinctive intelligence. It’s why Australian Shepherds naturally nip at their owner’s heels to make them change directions on a walk, even if they’ve never seen another Aussie doing that action. Their breed line just has that natural talent.
It’s also why dogs seem so attuned with human emotions. Way back when wolves and humans first began interacting, they learned that reacting specific ways to social cues increased their chances of living a cushy life complete with food scraps and head pats.
Over time, that learning became so ingrained that it can almost feel like our pets are reading our minds! If you’ve ever noticed that your sweet Goldie seems particularly cuddly when you’re not feeling well, that instinctive intelligence at work.
Other skills require some level of outside teaching and exploration. This is adaptive intelligence, and it varies widely based on what experiences the dog goes through when it’s young.
Examples of adaptive intelligence include many behaviors we try to “train out” of dogs because we unintentionally taught them that they get rewards from performing a particular action.
If you reward your begging puppy with a bite of your snack each time they start whimpering, they will learn that’s a great way to snag something tasty. You didn’t mean to teach this behavior, but they understood by trying a new situation and achieving favorable results.
In the same way, a puppy who frequents beaches and gets stung by a jellyfish after getting a little too close will learn to leave those funny-looking blobs alone, lest they experience the negative consequence again.
Think of it as those funny little “quirks” our dogs have, like signaling that they need to go outside by scratching the door or running to the kitchen as soon as they hear the can opener cutting through the lid of their wet food can.
Finally, there’s working intelligence. These are the behaviors we intentionally teach our dogs to achieve a particular behavior from them. It’s your classic, “Sit, stay, lay.” Working intelligence looks pretty similar to adaptive, but the key difference is the intention.
The concept of working intelligence in dogs and humans comes from a learning theory called “operant conditioning.” Simply put, we like to do things we get rewarded for and don’t like to do things we get punished for. That’s why treats are so important in a dog training regimen!
With time, practice, and plenty of positive reinforcement, dogs learn to associate certain sounds or actions with certain behaviors.
The reason that your dog can “shake paws” is because you trained it that the sound of those words means that they should lift their paw towards your hand and that in return, you’ll give them something they want, like a treat or positive attention.
Dogs don’t necessarily “understand” the concept of the words “shake” and “paw,” but they do know that when you say those sounds, they need to perform a certain behavior. And that’s a good thing!
Because dogs don’t understand proper human speech, we can teach them multiple languages. They are just as likely to learn the action associated with the English word “sit” as they are the Japanese word “osuwari.” It’s all about creating those sound-behavior relationships.
Teaching Dog Obedience Commands in Japanese
Before you jump into teaching dog obedience commands in Japanese, you must work on consistent and correct pronunciation. If you pronounce “mate” as the English word, then later learn its actual pronunciation, it’s tough to convince your puppy to respond to the new sound.
There are some critical rules to Japanese pronunciation that can help you work through many mishaps:
There Are Only 5 Japanese “Short” Vowel Sounds
The Japanese language contains five vowels, just like English. Unlike English, though, there are only two sounds each vowel can make, depending on whether it’s a double vowel or a single. The single vowels are considered the “short” sound.
- あ or a, as in mate makes the “ah” sound like “pasta.”
- え or e, as in mottekoi makes the “eh” sound like “bed.”
- い or i, as in oide makes the “ee” sound like “bee.”
- お or o, as in osuwari makes the “aw” sound like “pond.”
- う or u, as in rōru makes the “oo” sound like “boot.”
Be Aware of Double, Long Vowels
If a Japanese vowel has a line, or macron, over the letter, like kūchū kyatchi, that means that you pronounce the sound twice. These are considered the “long” vowel sounds.
Japanese words can have two different meanings based on the vowel sound, even though they are the same, except for the macron.
For example, ojisan means “uncle,” but ojiisan or ojīsan means “grandfather.”
If you’re ever in doubt, use online resources to hear a native speaker pronounce the word, then repeat until you’ve got it down.
Learn the 14 Japanese Consonants
Japanese has 14 consonants and 19 consonant sounds, while English has 21 consonants and three consonant sounds (ch, th, and ng).
These consonant and consonant sounds include:
- B, as in “boy.”
- Ch, as in “chair.”
- D, as in “door.”
- F, as in “function.”
- G, as in “gust.”
- Gy, as in “gyoza.”
- H, as in “head.”
- Hy, as in “Hyundai.”
- J, as in “jewelry.”
- K, as in “kit.”
- Ky, as in “Kyoto.”
- R, pronounced “L,” as in “lock.”
- M, as in “miso.”
- N, as in “net.”
- P, as in “pepper.”
- S, as in “sell.”
- T, as in “tuck.”
- W, as in “wash.”
- Z, as in “zip.”
It is infinitely more helpful to check out a Japanese Hiragana chart. These show how you pronounce each consonant sound and use the different vowel sounds. With a bit of practice, you’ll have it down in no time!
Combine Vowels and Consonants into the Standard 100 Syllables
Japanese only has 100 syllables, consisting of five vowels, 62 consonants with a vowel, and 53 consonants with a y and vowel.
When you think about only learning 100 different syllables to teach dog obedience commands in Japanese, it feels much more manageable!
25 Japanese Dog Commands
Now that you’ve got pronunciation right, it’s time to teach! If your dog doesn’t know the basic commands yet, like sit and stay, you should prioritize those words. It’s easier to help your dog learn cool tricks if they’re sitting and focused in between repetitions.
- Stay – Mate まて (mah-tay)
- Sit – Osuwari おすわり(oh-soo-wah-ree)
- Come – Oide おいで (oy-deh)
- No – Dame だめ (dah-meh)
- Stop – Tomare 止まれ (tow-mah-reh)
- Leave it – Hirowanaide 拾わないで (he-row-ah-ny-deh)
- Okay, go for it! – Yoshi よし (yoh-shee)
- Go fetch – Mottekoi もってこい (moh-teh-koy)
- Roll over – Rōru ロール (roh-ruh)
- Jump – Janpu ジャンプ (jah-n-puh)
- Speak – Hanase 話せ (hah-nah-seh)
- Paw – Ote おて(oh-teh)
- Bow – Ojigi おじぎ (oh-jee-gee)
- Beg – Tanomu 頼む (tah-nah-moo)
- Drop it – Chodai ちょうだい (cho-oh-die)
- Right spin/left spin – Maware/Tān まわれ/ターン (mah-wah-deh/ tahn)
- High five – Haitatchi ハイタッチ(hi-taht-chee)
- Go in the house – Hausu ハウス(how-suh)
- Hug – Dakko 抱っこ (dahk-koh)
- Catch in the air – Kūchū kyatchi 空中キャッチ (ku-uh-chu-uh keht-chee)
- Zigzag weave – Jiguzaguu~ību ジグザグウィーブ (jihg-uh-zahg-uh e-buh)
- Walk backward – Bakku バック(bahk-kuh)
- Crawl – Hofuku zenshin ほふく 全身 (hohf-uh-kuh zen-sheen)
- Stick out your tongue – Shitawodasu 舌を出す(she-tah-woh-dasooh)
- Stand up – Tate 縦 (tah-teh)
Still confused? Check out this video!
Tips for Teaching Dog Commands
Though it might seem frustrating for you and your pooch when you first start obedience training, learning commands is beneficial for both of you!
Many owners that end up giving their dog to another family or a shelter do so because they are frustrated by a behavior. Teaching the dog not to do that behavior means that both of you will find life together much more enjoyable.
You can reduce frustration during the learning process with a few tips that set your puppy up for success:
- Keep plenty of small, high-value treats on hand. Dogs need positive reinforcement to learn, and a very small piece of unseasoned chicken or training treat makes things easier.
- Don’t try to train if you’re already feeling impatient or if you’re upset about something. The dog may associate the routine with your bad mood and start to dread the process.
- Use the same word over and over and over. Don’t switch things up. Repetition is key.
- Keep your training sessions short and sweet, especially if you’re working with a puppy. Dogs can’t sustain their attention for as long as humans.
- Don’t punish your dog if they’re not getting it right. Think of them as a toddler! They desperately want to make you happy and breaking their spirit with anger is only going to make them fear you. Just stick with praising good behavior with words and cuddles!
Conclusion for Japanese Dog Commands
Instead of “sit, stay, speak!” you can tell your dog “Osuwari, mate, hanase!” We hope these helpful tips make it easy to teach Japanese dog commands to your furry friend.
Remember to study pronunciation, be consistent, and tell your puppy “yoku dekita” (good job) each time they learn something new.
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