te reo maori dog commands line icons

Teaching Te Reo Māori to Our Furry Friend

white fluffy japanese spitz with tongue out

One of the first steps we made to introduce te reo Māori into our whare was making the decision to only speak Māori to our punua kurī (puppy). Day one, we brought the little fluff ball home, and that's what we did. Toka will always be the mātāmua (eldest of our tribe), and a reminder to us of our dream to raise a bilingual family.

Sometimes it can seem daunting and overwhelming when your dream seems so out of reach. But just take one step at a time. No matter how small — it's still progress. Learning a handful of dog commands (which, turns out, are similar commands for tamariki 😂) didn't seem very significant. But it was a statement decision. Our whānau will be one that prioritises our precious language and culture in all aspects of our lives.

During Toka's early days in puppy school, we encountered skepticism from the trainer, who discouraged the use of te reo Māori. The trainer believed that its longer syllables would pose challenges for Toka compared to English. Despite this advice, we respectfully disagreed and persisted in using Māori commands. Much to her surprise, Toka not only exceeded expectations but also shattered misconceptions.

Dogs possess an incredible capacity to learn and comprehend human languages, regardless of the language they are taught. As social animals, dogs have evolved to communicate and form bonds with humans, making them highly receptive to learning our languages. Whether it's English, Spanish, French, or even a less commonly spoken language like te reo Māori, dogs can pick up the cues and meanings behind different words and commands. This remarkable adaptability is a testament to their intelligence and their deep connection with us as their human companions.

Although we started teaching Toka te reo Māori exclusively from day one, you can still teach your dog a new language, as dogs are eager learners and will happily embrace the opportunity to expand their linguistic skills if you have the patience to teach them.

So, if you're considering teaching your furry friend te reo Māori (as their only language, or in addition to their main language), karawhiua! Start with simple commands like "E noho" (sit) and "Haere mai" (come), and watch as your dog effortlessly picks up the cues and meanings. See our guide of phrases to start with below.

Dog Commands in Te Reo Māori:

e noho sit
haere mai come
ka pai good job
hoki atu go back
ki raro down
ki runga up
takoto lie down
kāo no
waiho leave
e huri turn around
taihoa wait
homai give it to me
e kai eat
hongi press noses
harirū shake hands
pahupahu bark
haere ki te moenga go to bed
piki mai climb up
turituri be quiet
kia tau calm down


Digital Download Print-Out

Check out our digital download print-out resource of reo Māori dog commands if you are keen to introduce te reo Māori to your own furry friend. Karawhiua!

te reo maori dog commands digital download

te reo maori dog commands digital download