All the people seem to know that dogs love the clicking tongue sound - a lot.

When you want to get a dog's attention, all you need to do is make this tongue clicking sound and they will come running over.

What's the deal?

Why do dogs love this sound so much?!

  • Are you assuming all or most untrained dogs love this noise?
    – Huangism
    Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 21:03
  • @Huangism Our two dogs at home are completely untrained and completely head-over-heels for this noise. A lot of dogs, that I've experienced, seem to have a fairly big reaction to this kind of tutting or tongue click, regardless of training. Maybe I'm a little overreaching. I just figured the noise was similar to the noises of breastfeeding or something more natural and common.
    – Mou某
    Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 9:21

4 Answers 4


I love this question. I read a study on noises that animal trainers make. They had gone around and recorded the noises that animal trainers used for comparison. If I am remembering right they did this in several countries and languages as well as different kinds of animal trainers. They found that the type, tone, and volume of the noises used were incredibly similar for similar meanings. I will try to find the study again and post it here.

Once I read that I started paying attention to the noises more and our gut feelings or defaults sometimes just make so much sense. The tone you use to tell a dog to lie down verses release or come to you should be different. The noise you use for a down should encourage calmness or obedience. Where as a recall or release should be more up beat to encourage faster movement because it is exciting.

I'm not sure if that exactly answers your question but I will try to find links to add to make this better


The dogs that respond (run to you and expecting something good) to the tongue click are most likely trained with a clicker. Since the sound is quite similar so the dog thought you clicked and is expecting something good.

Obviously not all dogs are like this because dogs that are not trained with a clicker might come over to investigate what the sound is or just ignore it altogether.

Dogs don't naturally recognize the clicker sound, it's trained into them. If you raise a dog without using the clicker and start making tongue clicks, it might come over the first few times to investigate, but if no positive results, it won't come over every time. It might look at you since you made a loud noise.

Not all people know about the tongue click, I am not sure what you are using to quantify that.


This isn't particular to dogs in the sense that cats and horses respond to the same noise as well. However, dogs are more inclined to interact with a human that calls for their attention, so they do come across as more eager most of the time.

The sound is just a sound you've taught them to respond to. It's also a quite clear and sharp sound that sounds notably different from environmental/background noise, so it's easy to distinguish as an intentional signal as opposed to random background noise.


According to my dog's trainer, a tongue click is the next best thing to an actual clicker. The similarity to a training clicker could be why.

Or it's just a strange, funny sound and the dog wants to investigate.

  • The sound might be similar to the clicker but dogs don't naturally like the clicker noise, it's trained into them
    – Huangism
    Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 21:02

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