Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Can We Talk?

Dogs and humans have different communication styles. It is quite obvious how different they are when Mom and I go to the dog park.  When we meet others coming up the path, we dogs circle and smell each other and then decide if we want to play together.  Humans say “hello” and decide if they want to stop and talk.

Dogs and human communicate with each other too.  Lots of that communication is by body language. When Mom stands with her feet apart and her hands on her hips when she looks at me, I know she is not happy about something I did. When I push my bowl against the wall, it means I want to eat.  I know they know what I mean cuz they usually say, “It’s not time yet”.

Sometimes it’s not what Mom says but how she says it. “Zeva” and “ZE VA” mean very different things and I know the difference.

But dogs are smarter than some people think.  We can understand spoken language very well.  I know some dogs who understand the same words in more than one language.  Mostly we associate words with objects. One thing Mom had to be very careful of when I was a puppy was to use the same word every time.  She couldn’t say “fetch” one time and “get it” the next time cuz I would get confused.

My Mom talks to me all the time. I like it when does.  It makes me feel important and loved.  She tells me where we are going and what we are going to do.  She tells me about work and the people she knows. She asks my opinion about lots of things too.  Dad laughs because one of Mom’s favorite things to say to me is “What are you thinking?”

It’s not just the sound of my Mom’s voice that I respond to.  I understand lots of the words. Just because I can’t say them, doesn’t mean I don’t know what they mean. The average dog can learn the meaning of around 165 human words.  A smart dog, like a border collie, can lean 250 words or more.  That is about as many words as a human who is two years old can understand.

One of the first words I learned was Zeva. That was probably the first word I learned because it is a very important word.  Some of my favorite words are:  cookie, toy, and dog park.  “What’s in your bowl?”  means I’m getting a special treat like chicken or eggs and “Do you want to help?” means one of the humans is going somewhere and I can go with them.

I’d love to know what some of your favorite words are.

Your friend,


Blatant self promotion: The Holidays are coming and this year we've added several new designs to our collection.  The new Santa Paws Gift Basket is one of my favorites.

1 comment:

  1. Hiya Zev,
    We had no doubts that our pawpal was a smart doggie. Mama is quadrilingual, so she speaks to us in 4 languages: English, Tamil, Hindi and German but mostly English. We understand her very well and pick up new words quickly (Bumo is a little slower than me, Miu). And we understand her various tones and body language too (that legs aparts and hands on the hips is never good). That's when we go belly up for a tummy scratch. Mama can never resist that and is soon laughing, her anger forgotten. Our favourite words are yum yum (meal), treat (special lamb and grain cookies), get it (go ahead, eat). Like you, we nudge our bowls when we want food or water (oh, we don't like the tepid water in our bowl. we prefer cool fridge water :-)
    Then there is 'come to mama' my (Miu's) favourite words which means 'let's cuddle'. "Cuddly, cuddly, bumo" works for bumo. Oh yes we sure can talk and understand human!