Sunday, December 17, 2006

Understanding your pet

We often don't realize how much our pets understand of our speech. We had an interesting revelation this morning however.

A year ago when we were going through training, we were told that dogs, especially Border Collies, could learn as many words as a 2 or 3 year old child. I suspect they learn these words just like a child does, by context.

One characteristic of the herding dogs is a desire, no, a drive, to anticipate what is going on. This comes in especially handy when you have an unruly animal who will not cooperate. With no animals to herd, Rocky has decided to anticipate what we want.

It was especially funny today. Kyle was getting ready to leave for a Karate Power Weekend and we told Rocky to say goodbye to Kyle. Rocky would start toward the stairs, then turn around and go to his kennel, even though Marj was ready to take him for a walk. We called him out, started to send him upstairs to say goodbye and he again headed for the kennel.

We figured out that he knows that the word goodbye meant that we were leaving and failing to put everything into a proper context and faced with a drive to anticipate, we had him running in circles.

1 comment:

Donna said...

I had an Izzi-ism yesterday! We were playing with her toy, me pulling it left and right, figure eight like, across the front of me while she chased. Instead of her making a circle turning on each side, she had enough of that and started a flip around on each side taking a short cut back to the other side. If you can picture that, then you are smart too...