Learn Spanish By Using
Dog Training Principles
By Rosana Hart
If you have ever trained a dog, even to the most basic
level, you know some things that can help you with
your own process of learning Spanish. Here are four:
 Repetition is essential. If you want your dog to
come when called, you will need to practice over and
over and over. If you want Spanish verbs to slip off
your tongue naturally, you will need to practice over
and over and over.
In both cases, review is a necessary part of the
repetition. If you don’t call your dog for a year, what
are the chances that he will come immediately when
you do? If you haven’t used your Spanish verbs in a
long time and you go to a Spanish‐speaking country
for a trip, they are unlikely to be right at the tip of
 You need to practice with dogs in different
places. Something they know perfectly well in the
kitchen they may hesitate on if you try it in the living
room. Now, actually, we humans are less location‐
dependent in our learning than dogs are, but just
because you can say everything you have learned
from a CD, you still may find yourself tongue‐tied
when you arrive at the Mexico City airport.
 A little bit at a time is better than long sessions.
Not only will you be more likely to do short training
sessions for either canine or human lessons, but you
won’t run into mental fatigue or overload.
 Rewards are necessary. It’s amazing what my
dogs will do for 1/100th of a hot dog. (I cut them into
tiny pieces and keep them handy in the freezer.)
I wouldn’t do anything for that, but the rewards of
being able to chat with my Mexican friends keep me
at my flashcards. I also like the intrinsic reward in a
flash card of getting them right. I bet it does
something with endorphins!
For more out-of-the-box thinking, visit Rosana's blog on
learning Spanish or her blog on dog training, depending
on your interests!