“Find It!”

Any dog owner will probably tell you that their dog understands a lot of what they say to them. All over the world, in any language, dogs can be trained to respond to certain words and phrases, especially if we say them with different intonations and emphasis.

My dog Ollie is no exception, and his understanding of vocabulary can be amazing to see at times.

He knows many familiar words that a dog owner might use on a daily basis, like these.
‘Treat’
‘Dinner’
‘Toys’

And some have been adapted for him.
‘Fresh’ (Water)
‘River’ (Going for a walk)
‘Guest’ (Visitors)
‘Baby Guest’ (Children)
‘A Man’ (Deliveries, or the postman)
‘Resting’ (Lie down)

He never took to ‘Sit’ as that was accompanied by a gentle push that he somehow translated into a bad thing. But if I say ‘Rest’ that works. He learned the individual names of most of his favourite toys too, and he knows that ‘Toys’ means all of them, and not just one. He will easily find and bring ‘Lion’, ‘Santa’, ‘Green Frog’, ‘Badger’, ‘Tiger’, and many more.

He also knows his name, so anything prefixed by that name will be immediately understood.
‘Ollie’s Dinner’ means permission to eat it.
‘Ollie’s Car’ means he is going out in the car with me.
‘Ollie’s Bed’ means he has to go to bed now.
‘It’s Ollie’s’ allows him to eat any treat that has been put down for him.

Out on his walks, he is usually very active. But there are times when he is just following me around, sniffing at things. To get him to run about at speed, I discovered the use of ‘Find It!’. This is said with some urgency, and at a low hiss. I often accompany the words with a crouching movement, as if I am looking at something. Then with no idea what it is he is supposed to be finding, he will take off at speed looking for it. It works every time.

I used on on his wet and dull walk today, and he ran around looking for ‘It’ on three occasions.

The things we do for our pets.

72 thoughts on ““Find It!”

  1. This warmed my heart. I love learning โ€œOllieโ€™s wordsโ€. Pets (Iโ€™m partial to dogs) give us so much. They are smarter than we think. Thank you, Pete. Please give Ollie a big pat.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I told my dog Skid that his chews were in the back of the car and he left the front seat to go get one. I swore to myself, that dog knows everything I say and just ignores most. It was a real revelation how smart they are. Ollie knows lots more than he’s letting on, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great post. That really cheered me up. Our old labrador was our most intelligent dog. Diesel, our terrie,r seems to react better to body language. Trouble is, he’s too keen and hubby has to be careful not to wave his arm in the direction of the window or he jumps on his chair barking at an imaginary fox! He knew ‘sit’ when we first got him and has learned ‘bed’ and ‘seek.’ but he’s getting very deaf and doesn’t hear his name when we talk to him so it has to be actions, now.

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  4. The are amazing companions; Jackie has got to the point now she reads the movement of my head and eyes, she will sit if I rasie my head and eyes and lay down with a downward nod of the head. A look left and right will send her in that direction if walking.
    My favourite though is as she sits in the well of the front seat of the van, looking at me with her 12-year old puppy eyes, “ok then” will have on the seat in a second and taking up residence as my co-pilot. It raised quite a few eyebrows when I was still driving a right hand drive car, seeing a dog on the left looked like she was the driver ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A driving dog in Poland must have caused a stir. They certainly learn about those small things like head and eye movements. Ollie reacts instantly to noises too. When I go to brush my teeth before bed, as soon as he hears the brush come out of the pot, he goes into the kitchen and gets on his bed. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Cheers mate, pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve read that dogs can learn up to one hundred sixty-five words. I’ve lived with dogs my entire sixty-one years. I’m partial to labs, but our dogs have all ranged in various levels of intelligence. Our last two dogs are mental opposites. Five weeks ago, we had to put our dog, Jake, down. We are still heartbroken; my wife cried for two weeks. He was the smartest dog I’ve ever owned. He would often see something once, and it became part of his memory. Like many dogs, he was ball crazy. What I found most surprising was that when we stopped for the day, I would put the ball up somewhere out of sight. A day or two later, I would walk into a room, and I would find him fixated, staring intently at a closed cabinet. He remembered where I put everything, and I moved things around a lot.

    His stepsister, Lulu, is the complete opposite; she can’t keep track of anything and gets tricked easily. Jake never fell for any red herrings. I still love her because even though she isn’t smart, she makes up for it in sweetness.

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    1. He goes to the groomer, so we don’t say bath. I avoid ‘Vet’, so I don’t think he would know that one. I just tell him ‘Ollie’s car’ when we are driving to the Vet. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Aw Ollie sounds so sweet. I find my dog does a similar thing when I say “what’s that?” in a surprised tone. He’ll run crazy trying to work out what it is! Dogs truly are wonderful

    Liked by 2 people

  7. There are articles and videos on the internet of dogs that know a surprising number of words. One psychologist taught his dog the names of 100 toys – raccoon / flamingo / crocodile etc. and it would fetch whatever he said even if they were in a different room. Cats can recognise a small number of words too.

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    1. I can confirm that Ollie knows the names of all of his stuffed toys, and even remembers ones we have thrown away. If I ask him to find one he hasn’t had for over two years, he will still go and look for it. He also knows the names of at least twenty local dogs, and will look around for them if I mention their names. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thanks, David.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. When our first grandchild was born, Ollie had never seen a baby. But he knew to be welcoming to guests, so we named him baby guest. Ollie took some toys and placed them around his carry-cot. Now he is five, and still known as baby guest. It has started to confuse Ollie though, as there is now a baby sister too, born in February. So he is not sure which ‘baby guest’ we are referring to. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This reminded me of the true encounters Ollie has had on your walks with other dogs or wildlife. It made me wonder about his most unusual encounter. Hopefully no skunks …

    Liked by 1 person

  9. We used to have a golden Labrador who we reckoned understood at least 60 words including all the usual commands like come, sit, heel and lie down. He also knew biscuits, what’s this? and find it, which would set him off on a search for something, usually a ball. He was very intelligent

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    1. They are great at learning words. Ollie knows biscuit, which I say to him as ‘Bisk-Wit’, so he knows I mean his biscuits, like Bonios, and not my Fox’s Crunch Creams. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Smart Ollie! He’s totally worth it! My cats are smart too but I’m not sure their vocabulary is quite as large as Ollie’s. Or maybe I’ve not stopped to tally up their words. I only know that Benji understands the word ‘no’ but chooses to ignore it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Ollie is a smart dog! I am always surprised at Dot’s vocabulary too. She comes into my office looking at me like, Please can we go for a walk. And I say, Mommy’s busy, and she leaves looking totally downhearted. It almost breaks my heart. Of course, I finish what I’m doing and take her.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I Call Smidgeon after her walk to come and get in the car. She looks at me to see if I have anything in my hand. If not, she looks at me as if to say “Me? you can’t possibly mean me.”
    I’ve always found that my new dogs learn best from the other dogs, but Pickle’s no example. Sixteen (soon to be seventeen) she’s been deaf for a couple of years now.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Absolutely true…and anyone that thinks dogs as not smart have never had one around for any length of time…..MoMO knows “bed” means that she has been bad and needs to take a time out…..fetch and sit she never took to either…..chuq

    Liked by 1 person

  14. We used to have an Old English Sheepdog named Sir Winston Marco Polo (I’ve mentioned him before). He loved milk, which we always diluted with water. Whenever Winston heard the word “milk,” he would dash to the fridge, and wait patiently to be served. One day, somebody said, quite discreetly, “Should we give Winnie some m-i-l-k?” Despite only hearing the word spelled out, Winston understood immediatelyโ€”he jumped up and raced to the kitchen…

    Liked by 4 people

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