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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of my friends recently dogsat for Grover for a couple of days and commented on how unresponsive he is to words like 'walk' and 'treat', compared to her family's dogs who go nuts when they hear 'walk', 'car ride', and 'dad'. This is something I have noticed as well - Grover knows many cue words that I have explicitly taught him, but has not really picked up words on his own. (Possible exception is 'where's your ball?' - ~65% of the time he'll usually go look for a ball or a toy when I say that)

One hypothesis I've had is that because I live alone, he only hears the words when I talk to him, whereas a dog that lives in a multi-person household likely hears many more words and hears key words like 'walk' many more times, so maybe they are more likely to form stronger associations?

I'm curious what your observations have been! Has it differed among dogs?
 

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Lol, I can almost have a conversation with my boyfriend's BC mix. She is so good at picking up words from conversation. She knows food, dinner, eat, hungry, outside, do you wanna, walk, park, frisbee, dog, doggle, animal, stinky, chewy, cat, where is it? and go find it!. I'm positive there are others I'm forgetting. I swear she practically understands what we're saying. We never taught her these things, she just started to get excited about those words after a while. They work in combination, too. Like, "go find the cat!" means she should run around the house until she finds the cat, lick his face, an come running back looking very pleased with herself. Haha. It's adorable.

Harvey, on the other hand, only knows a few phrases like do you want to go outside. And we never treated them any different. He just doesn't pick up on things like Skyli does. Seems like some dogs are just better at picking up words than others.
 

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My dog knows SO many words/phrases, probably 50+. She's lived mainly w/ just me and my now ex-boyfriend, sometimes my whole family, though I'm mainly the one to interact w her.
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I'm almost 100% sure that Buster knows what I'm talking about all day long haha! He picks up words so easily, knows all of his toys individually, people's names, places etc. And he knows them so well that when going out for a walk if I say we're going here today he'll walk out of the driveway and go the correct way :)
 
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Most of my dogs have been of average intelligence...with the exception of one I had called Sampson...who was just mega smart. She understood a lot of words...a huge amount for a dog.

Also, I had a cat, Ashley, who was of average intelligence...but as she got older...she changed. By the time she was 17 years old...it would some times give me chills at what she seemed to understand and I know this sounds crazy (because even I don't believe in it), but it was almost like there was a telepathic link between me and that cat. By the time she was 19, she seemed to know what I was going to do a nano second or two before I started to do it...and would get up and move, or go to the food bowl or look at the phone when I was just thinking of calling someone... It really gave me goosebumps sometimes. Her understanding of words was way more than even Sampson had achieved and I would even put her understanding of words on par with that of a two or three year old by the time she passed away at age 21. I can't describe quite exactly what it was but she just 'knew' if I was talking about the kitchen, she would look that direction, or if I said 'tv' she would look at the tv. Ditto with telephone and door, washer, dryer, fridge...she just knew a lot of words and would either look at the item or go over to it.

Stormy
 
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I'm almost 100% sure that Buster knows what I'm talking about all day long haha! He picks up words so easily, knows all of his toys individually, people's names, places etc. And he knows them so well that when going out for a walk if I say we're going here today he'll walk out of the driveway and go the correct way :)
My dog Laddie was like that. You could talk to him like a human and he'd understand. Of course the real source is that over the years he just built up more and more words he understood, probably easily over 100. Additionally, he was very in-tune with humans and could read them well. So if you pointed at something, or even if your hands were full if you called his name and then looked at something, he would understand you wanted him to interact with that thing. He could usually figure out what he was supposed to do. Get his attention and look at the hammer you dropped, he'd fetchit. Get his attention and look at some tracks, and he'd go sniff them and start following. Get his attention and look at a cow outside the fence, he'd bring it in.
 

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My dog Laddie was like that. You could talk to him like a human and he'd understand. Of course the real source is that over the years he just built up more and more words he understood, probably easily over 100. Additionally, he was very in-tune with humans and could read them well. So if you pointed at something, or even if your hands were full if you called his name and then looked at something, he would understand you wanted him to interact with that thing. He could usually figure out what he was supposed to do. Get his attention and look at the hammer you dropped, he'd fetchit. Get his attention and look at some tracks, and he'd go sniff them and start following. Get his attention and look at a cow outside the fence, he'd bring it in.
That's exactly what Buster is like. Very intune with people. Any object I point to he'll pick up, especially helpful for me cause I can never seem to understand to make two trips when carrying stuff, he just walked behind me and picks stuff up that I drop haha
 

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Riley's really good with body language/tone and picking up cues in everyday speech. However he only reacts to certain cues based on past experience with different people. For example, my mom has only recently started walking Riley. Prior to that she could use the word "walk" whenever and get zero reaction. Now, when she uses it he freaks out and expects a walk :p
 

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Shadow way my goof ball and while he did know some words that I never sat down and taught him he didn't know very many.

Jersey was very smart but couldn't seem to make the connection that words meant something, she knew less words then Shadow. I think it's because no one really talked to her when she was a pup (I rescued her when she was around 3 years old) and I wonder what she would have picked up had I raised her from a pup.

Zody is freakishly smart, and he knows that at least some words have meanings. He's learned that ride, and car, both connect to the car and if paired with his name he gets to go for a ride. I accidentally taught him that if I said "Whatcha want?" he was going to get a chew. If I ask "Hungry hungry wanna eat?" he's going to get fed. Nanny means we are going to go to my friend's house. "She's not there" means nanny is not home and he won't see her. Wanna go means we're going for a walk. Those are the one's I remember off the top of my head but I'm positive he knows more.
 

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Reese and Echo know certain things, like "are you hungry?" and a few others. But they don't pick up on things super well.
Chessa on the other hand understand just about everything! And if she doesn't know what you're saying, she tries her hardest to figure it out.

I think it just really depends on consistency and also the dogs intelligence. Generally I don't tell my dogs that we're going on a walk or that I'm going to give them a treat and things of that sort, so as to keep the excitement down. So Reese and Echo, who need a lot of consistency to catch on, don't know a whole lot of words/phrases. But Chess will figure things out no matter what.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I actually think that Grover is fairly good at picking up physical/situational cues, in a way that he isn't with words. He's traced a couple of fairly long (and not always consistent event chains), including the one that ends with me leaving the apartment and him getting his goodbye-be-good dog biscuit.

It's interesting because in teaching him tricks, it often took me far longer to successfully add a verbal cue, than to teach him the trick AND put it on a physical/handsignal cue. He might just not be a words kind of dog :)
 

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Lol, I can almost have a conversation with my boyfriend's BC mix. She is so good at picking up words from conversation. She knows food, dinner, eat, hungry, outside, do you wanna, walk, park, frisbee, dog, doggle, animal, stinky, chewy, cat, where is it? and go find it!. I'm positive there are others I'm forgetting. I swear she practically understands what we're saying. We never taught her these things, she just started to get excited about those words after a while. They work in combination, too. Like, "go find the cat!" means she should run around the house until she finds the cat, lick his face, an come running back looking very pleased with herself. Haha. It's adorable.

Harvey, on the other hand, only knows a few phrases like do you want to go outside. And we never treated them any different. He just doesn't pick up on things like Skyli does. Seems like some dogs are just better at picking up words than others.
My two youngest, Tiger and Spicey, are very good with words, and like Aurora's, I can have a discussion with them, Tiger especially, as he's more the talker. When you can't have a conversation with your significant other without spelling every 4th or 5th word, you know you have smart dogs! :D

And more than that (and I'm sure I don't have the only dogs that do this), all three of them know how to tell time. Again, Tiger especially. Yay, routines! He's the first one to let me know that it's time for their dental chewies or that it's really, really time to go out to the front yard, or to go and get the mail. He's also teaching Spicey that "It's okay to let them know! Go ahead! Start moaning at them!" She's much quieter, but manages to get my attention by sitting next to my desk and staring at me and shifting her position every few seconds until she catches my eye. :wave:Brilliant!
 
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