Can They Really Understand Us? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-15-2010, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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Can They Really Understand Us?

We all agree that our GSDs are extremely smart but are they smart enough to really understand us?

I'm kind of (alright - I am) stealing this from a thread started yesterday by CaseysGSDs. Here's the story she share with us: https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...rstand-us.html

I'd love to hear more stories of our GSDs understanding us. Or just sharing our opinions on if our GSDs can/can't understand us.

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post #2 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-15-2010, 09:08 PM
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I dont have any single story but Jordan surprises me daily at how smart she is.

Here are a few examples:
When she needs to go outside her demeanor changes (She paces and/or whines) so I have taken to asking if she needs to go potty? She will promptly sit down and look at me if she does if she doesnt she looks at me and then continues doing her thing... that usually means she has drank all her water again :P

When she gets anxious or rambunctious I ask if she wants to train. she lays down and wags her tail till I get up to grab the treats.

If she doesnt "Want" to train I ask if she wants to play... if she does she will grab a toy and give it to me

These are all words she has associated with their meanings with out me purposely teaching her. I think its awesome.

I dont know if she can understand everything I say but she picks up on my tones for sure... this makes me have to be much more aware of how I speak to her vs what I say most the time lol.

-Jess

Jordan - 5.5 mos - GSD
Corey - 11 yrs - Chi/Terrier
Annie - 4 yrs - Chi
Ashleigh - 3 yrs - Siamese
Hobbes - 3 yrs - Tabby
Pasha - 1 yr - Gecko
Zuki - 1 yr - Bearded Dragon
Wyatt - 2 yrs - Cockatiel
Milo - 11 yrs - Cockatoo

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post #3 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-15-2010, 09:14 PM
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I feel so special!! LOL
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post #4 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-15-2010, 09:14 PM
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No, I don't believe they can understand the entire human language in the way that some people believe. I think they pick up on body cues, and more words than people might realize. I hadn't read the above story but it surprised me that it just involved the dog understanding the word "treat." The dog didn't understand the entire sentence said by the child. The dog is well trained and socialized and let the kid lift its lips and look at its teeth (all of my dogs do this with no fussing) and it heard the word "treat." My dogs know the word treat and know where the treats are kept as well. My dogs know that after certain things they get a reward. They get their nails clipped and then run to the treat jar. They go to bed at night and know they get a treat before bed. The child may have made a move to get up and the dog knew it had done something good (teeth check) and had already heard the word treat and put two and two together. I do not believe the dog can understand, "OK, you check my teeth and I'll wait then go get a treat." Even if that's how it may appear.

Out of all my dogs, Akira knows the most words and can readily pick up many words used in everyday vocabulary. I don't believe she truely understands when I'm talking to her randomly, but she certainly understands many everyday words. She knows what her ball is, and she knows when she brings one (the cuz or kong ball) and we tell her to get the "other ball" she is to bring a different one that we use for indoor playtime vs the harder kong and the cuz which randomly bounces when it hits the ground.

Yes I think they are intelligent, but they read body language and learn words and cues.

Last edited by Rerun; 11-15-2010 at 09:16 PM.
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post #5 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-15-2010, 09:22 PM
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Heidi understands a LOT. She even knows our names. I will say, "Go see Dave" and she'll go running up to my husband. And if I'm hiding, and my husband says, "Go find Karin," she will run around the house, looking for me. Sometimes, we'll be in the den, watching TV, and then I'll go into the other room for a minute. She will follow me and if I say, "Go back into the den," she'll go back into the den and lay down on her mat.

Also, when I get ready to go out and am bustling around, drying my hair, doing my makeup, etc., she'll go into her crate because she knows I'm going out. She is sooooo smart!

Karin and Dave

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post #6 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-15-2010, 09:32 PM
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Zoe understands lots of words- dinner, walk, daycare, ball, car ride, and her favorite- POPS (my husband)...I'll see his truck pull up out front in the evening and say "Zoe, your pops is home!" and she goes nuts!

Zoe- 1/5/2010 Our first GSD
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post #7 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-16-2010, 12:14 AM
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Last year I went to a lecture on campus about types of animal intelligence. Part of the lecture covered how much our pets really understand, and the lecturer referenced studies about dog comprehension that observed GSDs, Goldens, and Standard Poodles (singled out as "highly intelligent, highly emotive" breeds) in their home and other environments.

The ultimate finding was that the dog's cognitive and social aptitude places his comprehension of human speech and interaction at about the same level as a three- to five-year-old human child. (The gap sounds a little broad to me too, but that was to account for the variation between individual dogs and children). The dog's emotional intelligence and intuitiveness reached a slightly higher "human" level, although this was more influenced by the strength of the human-dog relationship than the cognitive intelligence.

I've kind of held onto that little tidbit and thought I might share, but I doubt it surprises most of the people around here.
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post #8 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-16-2010, 12:56 AM
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i think mine can understand me perfectly... he just doesn't choose to listen LOL
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post #9 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-16-2010, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katey View Post
Last year I went to a lecture on campus about types of animal intelligence. Part of the lecture covered how much our pets really understand, and the lecturer referenced studies about dog comprehension that observed GSDs, Goldens, and Standard Poodles (singled out as "highly intelligent, highly emotive" breeds) in their home and other environments.

The ultimate finding was that the dog's cognitive and social aptitude places his comprehension of human speech and interaction at about the same level as a three- to five-year-old human child. (The gap sounds a little broad to me too, but that was to account for the variation between individual dogs and children). The dog's emotional intelligence and intuitiveness reached a slightly higher "human" level, although this was more influenced by the strength of the human-dog relationship than the cognitive intelligence.

I've kind of held onto that little tidbit and thought I might share, but I doubt it surprises most of the people around here.

Thanks for sharing.....very interesting!
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post #10 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-16-2010, 07:42 AM
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I know that Sinister understands me.


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