Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Talking with dogs

The other day at lunch I got suddenly curious about how many command phrases my current and recent dogs seem(ed) to understand and (usually!) respond to in a more or less correct manner— some better than others. I began to scribble on the back of an envelope, gave up, and then after lunch sat down at the keyboard to complete the useless task.

Wanna go out?
Want a cookie? (dog biscuits are 'cookies')
Who wants a cookie/piece of chicken/some beef/some venison/etc.?
Are you hungry?
Do you want to eat?
Where's your toy?
Get your ball!
Let's go out.
Find it!
Wanna go in the truck?
Wanna come with?
Let's go for a walk.
Where's the bird?
Go see.
Who is it?
Where's (name)?
Go get (name).
Give it.
Get back.
Stop it.
No lick.
No bite.
Leave it.
Get it!
Come back!
Too far!
Go potty!
OK! (Permission to go out open door, get up on bed, eat from bowl, etc.)
All-ee, all-ee! (No more of whatever…)
Get in your crate!
Get in the back!
Get in the Rhino!
Take nice!

I have always talked to my dogs. Nowadays they are my usual and normal conversationalists and we "chat" a lot. It helps a dog to understand you, and himself in relation to you, when you talk to him. Over time they develop an amazing sense of what's going on and what you expect of them. I stopped at something over forty, and am sure to remember a couple more after I post this. I suspect that any dog owner could come up with a very similar list. Depending on their individual animals, it could be a lot longer than this one.


Hecate said...

I remember picking up one of my Greyhounds at the vet a couple of years ago. She was bouncing around on the lead so much I couldn't pay the bill.

I told her, "If you want to get out of here, you'd better settle down so I can take care of this." She looked at me and immediately laid down on the mat in front of the counter.

As I was writing my check, the vet said, "People come in here all the time telling us their dogs understand every word they say, and we smile and nod. Yours really do . . . and it's kind of spooky."

Pique Oil said...

A AHEM type cough from me used to be enough to stop our old blue heeler from doing things like digging in the garden. sometimes a look was enough.
Dogs never tell secrets and make fantastic listeners when you want to think out loud.

Anonymous said...

My dogs understand good, bad, come here, stop that, and what's out there?

Brigid said...

You forgot "Bacon!"