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.
And some have been adapted for him.
‘River’ (Going for a walk)
‘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.