Can They Really Understand Us? - Page 4 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #31 of 89 (permalink) Old 01-27-2011, 09:19 AM
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Some dogs use tone of voice and body language but some dogs can understand not only words, but sometimes complete sentences. They all have at least some understanding of our communication.

I would like to be as good as my dogs think I am.
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post #32 of 89 (permalink) Old 01-27-2011, 03:22 PM
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My Frodo understands a lot, he knows all his toys by name and theres a lot of them. When its almost time for my son to come home from school, I'll say, go wait for your brother and he'll go sit on chair and look out the window for him.

On walks I'll say, have any deer been here and he'll go nose down and sniff out deer tracks. When my husband (military) is gone for any length of time, he'll look at our picture on the wall of my husband and I when I ask where's daddy?

Within 5 minutes of a visitor to the house, he will know them by name and go to them if asked. I also now have to spell the words car, park, cat, and walk although he's beginning to catch onto spelling.

If he knows he's going in car, he'll run around and look for my purse. He's very smart for me, but chooses to be selective when daddy's around. Mom means business, daddy means fun.
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post #33 of 89 (permalink) Old 01-27-2011, 03:31 PM
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I have a Cairn Terrier that amazes my friends with his ability to know certain words, if I ask him where the bird is, he'll run to a tree and look up the trunk, if I ask where a mouse is, he runs into the barn between the bales of hay, if I ask where the lizard is he runs to the wall and looks up, and if a squirrel, he runs to the holes in the yard and starts digging, the hilarious thing though, is if I ask these questions while we are in the house he will jump up and try to bite me!

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post #34 of 89 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 02:34 AM
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There is a NOVA special on how dogs communicate with people, it's really cool. If you have Netflix make sure to que it up, or do the online thing and stream it to your computer. The National Geographic dog special is okay, nowhere near as good as the NOVA one.

I can't talk to my dog. He might know one or two words that are in the sentences, but overall he's not getting the entire jist. What he can do is watch my eyes and mouth and body positioning to help with his interaction with me.

One tidbit from that NOVA thing was an experiment with chimps, wolves, infants and dogs. The experiment was a test to see which species "took a hint" from a human. The hint was a point, or a gesture towards the hidden food source. You'd think the best scores would go to the infant and the chimp, the primates that really depend on sight as the dominant source of feedback. Turns out the chimps were awful at it, the infants were only slightly better, the wolves were HORRIBLE while the dogs amazed the researches with just how subtle the hint needed to be. Even with puppies. The researchers wired up some people with vision tracking hardware and tracked how people (adults) scan other people's faces. Did the same with a host of dogs and it turns out that dogs go for the same main 3 indicators on the human face IN THE SAME ORDER. Dogs watch us like hawks, I can't twitch an eyebrow with my GSD twitching an ear in my direction. If I so much as think about eating that last peanut-butter cracker I will get the "please daddy...let me have some" face.
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post #35 of 89 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 04:52 AM
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My two know certain words and phrases. For example, if I say 'do you wanna eat'...they wag their tails merrily as they run to the kitchen. I can say 'get in there' and it has two meanings-if we are in the house, it means get in their crates, if we are going outside it means get in their kennel. They are very easy to crate/kennel most of the time. However I believe a good deal of that is due to routine rather than their actual comprehension of what I am saying. They also know to behave differently based on different tones of voice, they get uber excited when I brush past a leash(thinking they are going to go for a ride), etc. So there are plenty of cues in everything I do that gets a variety of reactions from them.

My last dog knew certain phrases too. 'Go bye' obviously meant going for a ride. 'thats far enough' when on an off leash walk meant to wait for me to catch up and she always did. 'clean it' meant to wash her frisbee, and 'I can't reach it' meant that she dropped it too far away, so she would get it and come drop it at my feet. 'drop it' evidently meant to literally drop it at my feet. Never could get her to put a toy in my hand. But one word I KNOW she understood was Toy. So much so that I had to spell the word if I did not want to play.

Again, I believe that a great deal of this is based on the routines that we provide for our dogs versus them truly understanding each or even the majority of our words.

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post #36 of 89 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 02:12 PM
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Dogs can understand us even when we're not speaking, imho


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post #37 of 89 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by brembo View Post
There is a NOVA special on how dogs communicate with people, it's really cool. If you have Netflix make sure to que it up, or do the online thing and stream it to your computer. The National Geographic dog special is okay, nowhere near as good as the NOVA one.

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post #38 of 89 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 12:18 PM
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Interesting thread, I have always felt they understand us more than we understand them. They are also far more accomadating of us than we are of them.

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post #39 of 89 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 07:22 PM
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I am amazed by how much dogs understand and the efforts that they make to communicate with us. I've had my pup for 3 weeks and he knows his name, my name, my husband's name and the name of one of our other dogs--the one that occasionally acknowledges his existence.

Years ago I went on a large camping trip with about 15 other people. My big girl, Crusher, was about two years old. Some of the people she knew very well, some she had met a few times and others were strangers. We were gathered around the bonfire and imbibing tasty beverages. Crush was being velcro and annoying me so I told her "Go see Charlie" . Crusher knew Charlie very well and she walked around the fire and found him, Charlie greeted her and told her to "Find Cole"--Charlie's son whom Crush had met a few times. She went right to him. Now everyone around the bonfire starts calling Crusher and sending her to see other people. She went to everyone in the circle. I was so proud.
The next morning, she rolled in fresh moose poop...long ride back to town.
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post #40 of 89 (permalink) Old 02-20-2011, 08:53 PM
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We've had some extremely intelligent dogs that understood lots of words, hand signals and body language. We got to the point with our first GSD Maxi, that certain words we would have to spell....and then she learned what we were spelling. He namesake, little Max was very vocal and actually tried to imitate human sounds. He had a vocabulary of over a dozen words and phrases. He would go MMMMMrommaa when I got home and other words like ride and park understandably. Most people wouldn't believe it....until they heard him. He died of EPI. Coco, our 5 year old GSD knows my body language so well, when a stranger pulls up he barks like a mad dog, but if I am calm, he sits beside me like a statue with no signs of aggression. He has the DH so well trained, he (the DH) knows who has pulled up in the driveway by Coco's bark. Both of our boys have found jobs in other cities in the past year and moved away. One day last week, one of them dropped in for a surprise visit, didn't call, we had no way to know he was coming. Coco heard someone and started barking and the DH said "Brandon's here." I said "No way, he didn't say anything about coming in" and he said "Well, Coco says he is here", and sure enough, he was. Came to the door a few minutes later. He had to come to court for a traffic ticket he got before he moved. I believe they understand more than we believe and if we pay close attention, we can understand them better as well.

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