Can They Really Understand Us? - Page 2 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #11 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-16-2010, 08:24 AM
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When I was a kid the family farm dog, Rex, could be told to "go get ..." and he would go to the fields and single out me, my brother, or both of us and push/herd to get us home. Of coures understanding a command is specific and my be a programmed response rather than comprehension.

Rex loved to shake hands and once when he was asked "do you know any other tricks?" he looked around and lifted his other paw. The ability to understand a question and respond with a joke is something that I would say shows a pretty high level of comprehension.

I would like to be as good as my dogs think I am.
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post #12 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-16-2010, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by kiwilrdg View Post
When I was a kid the family farm dog, Rex, could be told to "go get ..." and he would go to the fields and single out me, my brother, or both of us and push/herd to get us home. Of coures understanding a command is specific and my be a programmed response rather than comprehension.

Rex loved to shake hands and once when he was asked "do you know any other tricks?" he looked around and lifted his other paw. The ability to understand a question and respond with a joke is something that I would say shows a pretty high level of comprehension.
Was Rex an English Shepherd, an Aussie, or some other type of farm dog, or?
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post #13 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-16-2010, 10:59 AM
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Rex was mostly bernese mountain dog. He might have been full blooded but he was a pound dog with no known history.

He sired 2 litters of puppies (this was before shelters required neutering).
His pups were with a shepherd and a shepherd/collie mix. I know at least one member of his line was still working in the early '90s. All the dogs from his line were good work dogs.

My parents borrow the neighbor's dogs sometimes now. Last summer we had the poodles up there and we lost track of the smaller one. One of the Neighbor kids said "Elmira will find him". They told Elmira to find the other poodle. Elmira smelled my bigger poodle and the kid said to find the other one. Elmira followed the scent of the only dog she didn't know and found my missing dog.

I don't know how many words the dogs know and how much is body language and tone of voice but anyone who has been around work dogs on a daily basis knows they have a high level of understanding of some part of human communication.

I would like to be as good as my dogs think I am.
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post #14 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-16-2010, 11:21 AM
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Every night when I tell Jon I'm heading up to bed Frag runs to his crate and lays down like he knows what I said and it's bedtime. If I just say bed at him he does nothing, so I know he's not reading between the lines...

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post #15 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-16-2010, 01:32 PM
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I think it depends on the dog. Some dogs are so into their own heads they aren't interested in what you have to say - like my golden. Some dogs are so into their owners they learn your body cues, your voice variations etc. Hondo is such a dog. If I can figure out how to teach him something, he'll learn it eagerly. I can then vary it to fit what I have to say. Example; Hondo went through our pasture fence - a big no-no. I caught him just as he passed through, and called him back. We were sitting on the porch with some friends. Hondo came back to me and I told him, "I suggest you come right to me (scolding voice)" Hondo came, sat directly in front of me and sat, looking right at me. I then said, "If you go through the fence again, I will put you in your kennel. Is that a deal?" (I reached out my hand) and with that Hondo gave me his paw as if to make the deal. Our friends were beside themselves.

When I want to go outside to smoke, I can look at Hondo and tip my head towards the door. He'll jump up and run to the door. This is because I'll say to him, "Wanna go outside to smoke?" while saying it I tip my head towards the door. He just learned the short version.

I think it really depends on how much time you spend communicating with your animal, and how much they want to communicate with you.
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post #16 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-16-2010, 02:29 PM
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I think it really depends on how much time you spend communicating with your animal, and how much they want to communicate with you.
Sounds like any relationship.

I would like to be as good as my dogs think I am.
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post #17 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-16-2010, 03:40 PM
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Deuce always seems to know when i'm not feeling well.
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post #18 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-16-2010, 03:44 PM
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Wilhoit, my GSD, certainly learned words, but it was his comprehension of nonverbal cues and situations that was close to uncanny. Since his whole attention was focused on me--how I was doing, was I O.K., did I need help--I had to learn to become a better person. If I worried, he worried, and since I wanted him to be as happy as possible, I had to learn not to worry. When I was heavier, I would occasionally had sleep apnea, and had it once during Wilhoit's seven years with me. I was aware of waking up peacefully and gradually, then realized Wilhoit was breathing gently in my ear and also realized I had just stopped having sleep apnea. As soon as I was fully awake, Wilhoit just quietly went back to his dog bed beside mine and went back to sleep. If he had awakened me by actually touching me I would have been really startled. It amazed me how he seemed to know just what to do. He was almost always a very astute judge of people as well.
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post #19 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-17-2010, 08:22 AM
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yes I believe Kali understands us..she will come and put her paw on us if she needs to go outside and do her business, or if she is hungry she will do the same..she knows her 'squeeky' toys, mama, daddy, car ride, trails, walk, i could go on.. lol! she also knows the difference if i am putting my hiking shoes on(means we are going for a walk) or my dress shoes for work (means mama's going to work)...if we say 'who's there?' she will bark, if we ask her 'what time is it?' she knows its her time for playing at the park....she knows what 'nails trimmed', 'teeth cleaned' and 'tub time' is too!!
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post #20 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-20-2010, 06:56 PM
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kiwilrdg,
That Rex sounds like a really great dog. I'm glad his line continued, too, at least for a bit. Just how any good working breed starts, because a good dog is a good dog ... is a good dog, IMO! And, treasures sure can be found in pounds.
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