For those who have taken my Basic Training Course, you should already know the answer to this. Let’s see who else does. When we are communicating with someone else, we convey information through the actual words we say, through our tone of voice, and through our body language. If each of those three components add up to a total of 100%, what percentage of our information do we receive through just the words we say?

Seriously, if you don’t know the answer, take a guess before you read on. If you are part of the average crowd, you will guess somewhere between 30 and 50%. Those are the most common answers I hear when I ask this question.

Now for the real answer. It is seven percent. You read that right, seven percent. Tone of voice accounts for about 38% and body language accounts for about 55%. Doesn’t seem right to most people at first. But when I demonstrate to my class, I walk up to one person and say, in my most sincere and friendly way possible, “I am so glad that you are here today!” Then I walk up to someone else, and in my most sarcastic, irritated, way possible, I say, “I am so glad that you are here today.” I usually roll my eyes, fold my arms, face away from the person and sit down and avoid them. I said the same thing. And yet I said completely different things.

Now, most of us speak English as our first language. Dogs do not. Where is your dog getting his information from? Yep, tone of voice and body language primarily, just like us. So, the next time you are working with your dog, think about what your tone of voice and your body language are really saying. Because you just might be telling your dog something completely different than you thought you were.

Effective training is all about communication. Are you communicating what you really want to your dog?