How much do dogs understand when we talk to them? Other than basic commands like sit, shake, go, come, idiot, gerrout, animal! cow! etc. can they understand when we talk to them about going for a walk or to the vet? Or that everyone’s going out and there won’t be food till you return in the evening. How many words can they retain in their memory sef? And is that dependent on breed? You must’ve thought of these at some point when you discuss with your dog. Abi do you just run your mouth at the dog while its just staring at you, tongue out and wondering when you’ll feed it or scratch its belly.
Well, get some answers. it seems that there’s actually a number of words that a dog can understand, sort of like the human lexicon, that’s approximately 200.
Take Rico for example, a Border Collie, not Bingo the local dog, Rico’s a working dog that’s been bred and trained for its ability to be able to understand and work with a man, to run sheep and respond to those commands. So that’s something that’s been bred into that line, but when you have breeds that are maybe bred for their appearance, like what the guys at Satelite town and Ikeja are doing, they might be suffering a little bit on the intellect. As in those mongrels are dumber than full breed dogs. The one wey dem for use get sense, dem don use am fine. Shikena!
There was another dog, dead now, sadly, it had an exceptional vocabulary and the other things that they were saying dogs seem to be able to do. they would have him in a room and say, “Go and get a toy of type X from the room next room” and then not include that toy in the line-up of toys that he did know the name of and he would assume that because he didn’t know what that toy was named and he had been told to go and get things but he didn’t have the name of, that must be the one, and that’s the same sort of learning process as the 3-year-old child shows. It’s quite extraordinary that they’re able to do this, but then on the other hand, given that they are mammals and so, we have common ancestors, is it so surprising?
What, you dont like that theory?
i had a dog, jimmy was his name. Real smart dog, obeyed orders, understood situations. Wasn’t smart enough to escape the calabar guys that put him in a sack though. But jimmy was a brown dog. What we call a ‘local’ dog but i trained him hard and he was smarter than a certain German Sherphard around.
Back to what i was saying.
I think it does show a level of adaptation and how quickly it’s been bred into dogs – into their breeding lines – that they can cope with this sort of communication with humans. The other thing that they’ve shown in these kinds of tests is that there seems to be a real connection between the dog and the owner. So, the specific human that the dog’s associated with that they’re more likely to understand fully the commands and even respond to that facial expressions – the dog’s owner and they recognise that person. Like my jimmy, oh jimmy!
Dogs do have the ability to know a lot of stuff and the more you talk to them and demonstrate, the more knowledge they would pick up. That being said, i think you should cut down on the things you say when your dog’s there. He/she could understand enough to maybe do something about it. Especially if you’re close with your dog. You don’t want it to go all ‘eran iya osogbo’ on you. i used to suspect Jimmy then too.