Sit, stay, fetch, heel, speak! All of these are common words dogs of all breeds are expected to know. But have you ever wondered just how much your dog understands when you speak to them? Whether you chatter constantly with your furry companion or just sit together watching television, dogs encounter lots of words throughout the day. And you may be surprised at how many they understand…
It’s not a far stretch to say that dogs learn many of their basic words just from simple exposure. Think back to when your dog sits next to you while watching a program. While yes, it’s very possible (and plausible)that the dog is simply tuned out, asleep, or in a completely different space mentally. Sometimes, though, this is a situation where they are being exposed to many different syllables, words, and phrases that, if repeated often enough, your dog will soon begin to recognize. This, of course, is in addition to all of the conversations that take place in your home on a daily basis.
Dogs are more likely, though, to pick up and answer to words when spoken directly to them. An average dog can learn up to 165 words, and they become familiar with these words in one of two ways. First, they're more apt to acknowledge words they’re familiar with when there’s a direct action or object associated with the word. For example, when dogs receive a treat for performing common tricks like sit, stay, and shake, they’re more apt to acknowledge the word, especially when compared to things like vet, groomer, or crate. Similarly, many obedience classes promote the use of hand gestures to reinforce commands. This is something physical that the dog can associate with the word, making it easier to remember and recall for next time.
Some words will be easy for your dog to learn and naturally pick up while others take a little bit more teaching and training. To expand your dog’s vocabulary, it’s important to note that they respond best with short, hard syllables. A word like “ride” might be a better choice than “traveling.” Simplifying things can help them differentiate between words and then once they have those down, you can expand to longer phrases or commands. Also, as your dog possesses a sort of sixth sense, they are also able to detect moods and emotions. Therefore, keeping things light and positive during training is the best way to communicate with your dog. Using higher-pitched, positive, and even musical tones in your voice can help positively reinforce your dog’s training.
If you’re still skeptical about whether or not dogs can really understand what you’re saying, check out this study that proves dogs can recognize words themselves, even when presented with different levels of inflection in their voice. Keep your dog calm but engaged throughout the process with WINPRO® Focus.
WINPRO Focus contains a blend of animal blood proteins and other key ingredients to help reduce anxiety, improve mental calmness, and maintain mental alertness in dogs especially during times of noise, stress, travel, etc. This product promotes attentiveness without making your dog drowsy.