Anyone who has spent any amount of time with our dog Bear will know that he's incredibly sweet, but they'll also note that we're probably not the people you should turn to for dog training advice. That said, I still feel comfortable commenting on what I consider a particularly poor dog communication strategy that I often witness.
This morning I was out running by the reservoir where there are some large patches of open space where dogs run around off leash. At one spot, I saw a dog run off the trail into an area of open space, playfully exploring. Just as soon as he ran off, his owner dropped the gear he was carrying and started screaming at the dog. No transition of sweet talking the dog to lure him back, picking up a tempting stick, nothing. Just right in to screaming "Get over here right now" rather angrily, followed by more ranting of "Stop that, get out of there; you get back here right now" and so on.
He sounded rather menacing and threatening to me - sort of that "come over here so I can kick your ass" tone of voice. Dogs might not be rocket scientists, but I really can't think of many beings who would rush at the opportunity to come over to someone talking like that. While the man didn't show a lot of kindness towards his dog in this exchange, he seemed to think that his dog had a capacity to understand some rather complex sentences. We didn't learn much from the dog trainers we've used, but I definitely learned that too many dog owners speak to their dogs as if they understand English, rather than dog English (one to two word phrases). Listening to this man made me picture a somewhat menacing version of the teacher in the Snoopy cartoons ("mwa, mwa, mwa, mwa, mwa, mwa")
I didn't stick around to see how the exchange was resolved, but as the man continued his ranting, all I could think was "Now's your chance - make a run for it."