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Personally, I think not only does Jax understand me but I think she's psychic half the time as well.
 

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I've always assumed if you have a more intelligent dog (I'm biased towards the herding group) that if they can pick up: sit wait stay come back down off leave it etc. Then they can pick up more words by association.

My last dog would get all crazy boy when you said Taco Bell, didn't matter what tone of voice or body language...he loved his Mexican Food.
(even fake Mexican food)

*I know it's really bad for him...but he got his Christmas and Birthday Bean Burrito....and lived to be 12 and a half. I doubt Taco Bell gave him the spleenic mass that killed him.
 

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I definitely think it is body language mixed with specific words and intonations in our voices. I can say to my Ella, 3yr old GSD, "Do you want a treat?" with out any questioning intonation and she will not respond positively. But if I ask her in a normal questioning way....of course she wants a treat! Same with when I ask her where our children are...."Where is Aidan?"(they are away at college). She jumps up and runs to the entrance of our house to see if they are finally home. So many words and more phrases..."go for a ride", "go for a walk", "want a treat", "get a toy"...ball, ducky, fatcat,etc...you can be specific and she will bring these to you to play, "want to go out and play". I also had a GSD before this one who would listen to our conversations and anticipate what we were going to do...that was spooky. We started to spell words out....RIDE, WALK, etc....she even learned the meanings of the spelled out words. All of this was unintentional on our part. GSDs are amazing creatures...and I know it is all conditioning...but wow!
 

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My Raven definitely knows words and spellings. I can no longer spell out C-A-R or G-O or O-U-T, etc. in front of her. Instead, I have learned to use more obscure words like "travel" if I don't want her to react. She also knows that if I say that I'm going to "work" that she is NOT going with me. She remembers from year to year that if I put sunscreen on my face, we're going outside in the back yard, and believe me, I live in Northeast Ohio - summers are very far apart!
 

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I think Newlie understands certain words:
ball
cookie
breakfast
supper
outside
bye-bye
sit
down
backup
shake hands
find
drop it
leave it
etc

One of the cutest things I taught him is when we are in bed, I will tell him "lay your head down" and he does (usually on me.)
 

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I will be lying in bed, under the covers, and Babs will come up and position herself with her tail toward my head. Totally dark so no body language here. I will tell her, "I don't want your butt, put your head up this way", so she will get up and move her head so it is toward the head of the bed. Except when she is being ornery, and then she will move her whole body onto all my pillows. Which brings another torrent of words, or me just putting my head on her, and that never seems to last very long. They understand plenty.
 

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When Sabi was about a year old I was standing outside the door with my arms full of groceries and dog food calling to my husband to open the door. Sabi was standing inside staring at me, frowning. She glanced over her shoulder and then reached up with a paw and opened the door. To be fair it was a screen door with a simple lever handle, but she reasoned that I needed the door opened and had obviously watched us open it enough that she understood the action needed to make it happen. And let me be very clear, she did not jump up and hit it accidently, she very deliberately reached up a paw, hooked the handle and pulled it.
Over the years her proficiency with door handles grew to problematic, but if that is not an example of a dog understanding I don't know what is.
 

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Yep most certainly do...
And I am not just talking about learned commands.
Dogs are masters at body language.

Not just dominant postures... But when you are sad too..
Yes they get it. They spend too much time with us, and we are their world...

So they have developed ways too communicate with us, just like we have developed ways to communicate with them..

It is a two way street.

I think reward training nurtures that bond. Because we are not training them to react to commands. But rather to chose to do commands.

The less choice a dog has, the less he will be 'himself' I believe... (The less he is understanding something not taught)
The more choice a dog has however, the less he will be inclined to listen..

Balance is important.

I dont think understanding us has anything to do really with 'taught' commands that are forced, or reactive.

Active dogs simply are looking for ways to communicate.. And do, and experience new things.
 

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I don't know if any of you read the book "Chaser," it's about a border collie who has learned 1,000 words. I am part of the way through the book right now. Of course, Dr. Pilley is a retired scientist and has made this a project. He spent hours and hours every day teaching his dog, more than most of us are able to do. Still, it has been an interesting read so far. I tried imitating a little of his work with Newlie and really thought I was making progress until I realized Newlie thought every toy was named "ball."
 

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Yes, that's a whole other world of communication. The seizure dogs and panic attack dogs. Plus, they are still evolving to their needs, which seems to have paralleled man's for some time. If they are at the average of a 2 year old level now, what will they be like in the future? Just fun to think about.
 

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I think our current GSD, Jaeger, understands quite a lot! He seems to know what we are saying, and sometimes acts on what we say before we are done talking, lol. We have even tried not using any emotion, or names,or any gestures of any kind and he will still act on it.
It depends a lot on the dog, and whether they are attuned to you I think, so it matters to them what you are saying. Then they pick up words and actions, and probably your tone in some cases.
But I have seen some amazing things from all the GSDs we've owned, and some were just better at it than others, lol. We had one who would go get the items we told him to get, by name, and he was not trained on those items. He just seemed to know, and did it. He also seemed to understand exactly what we wanted, without specialized training of any kind.
 

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Yes, they can but I think its more emotional feeling they pick up, like hormonal scents and just being able to read a person, I know my dogs know when Im sick, happy or sad. Yes they do understand
 

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Oh, they understand far more than we know. I think we severely underestimate how much dogs, and cats too, and even wild animals, understand. Human beings are awfully snooty about how smart we are and we don't recognize other kinds of intelligence as equal to our's.
 

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I don't have to tell my GS to "sit" when I grab the treat bag. She already knows in order to get the treat she has to sit. So she sits when she seems me going for it.

They understand movement and actions and can think for themselves. So I do believe they are truly a breed of animal (like many) that can understand human beings.

As for the emotional side, that is purely just being in-tuned with their owner and being around them. Sure a dog can sense fear, sadness and happy. When I get up in the morning and get ready for a walk, I get her amped up and she responds. If I were to walk around yelling in anger, I'm sure she'd find a spot to hide. Tone of voice and body language are easily understood by every animal. You show aggression, she may get defensive or submissive.

Animals have always been interesting to me and the German Shepherd has always been my favorite just because they are intelligent.

The end.
 

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My 2 understand when I ask them if they need to go out or it's time to eat. I take them outside to potty separately or they wrestle instead of pottying, Xerxes will come back in and go in his kennel. I just say you don't have to go in there and he runs in the other room. hehehe Before I got Xerxes and Jasira, I had 3 GSDs. I never realized they were doing this until one night it hit me. I used to be addicted to an on-line game that I used to play constantly every night. One night I signed off and the computer played it's sign off music. All 3 dogs stood up when they heard it. They knew it was time for their last potty break. LOL That's when it hit me what they were doing.
 

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Fiona understands a lot. She is suppose to sit at the door before we go out. If I say, what am I waiting for? She will sit. My mom tried it with Gilda, nothing.

She helps with the chickens that free range in the backyard. If I have to keep the gate open to work, I will say watch the girls and she keeps them back. If the chickens get into a place they are not suppose to be I will say chickens! Fiona will help me round them up to get them out.

She knows all the standard words like park, hungry, etc. she also helps find the exit in busy crowded places or the car in a parking lot.
 

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They understand a lot; more than we give them credit for. And, more importantly, they believe what we communicate to them, which is where the problems arise, because the one thing they do not understand is inconsistency.
 

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They understand a lot; more than we give them credit for. And, more importantly, they believe what we communicate to them, which is where the problems arise, because the one thing they do not understand is inconsistency.
Hey Michael, you outta surf through 2006-7. Lot a good old stuff to bump there. Give the spammers some competition.
 
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