Talking to your dog

Do you?  Do you talk to your dog?  I most certainly do.  If you were to spend a day in my home, hidden away so that you could just listen; you would hear a lot of one sided conversation. What you would not hear is Elsa's response to my words.

Hear - to perceive by the ear.

You would hear me speaking all day long but you would not hear Elsa say much of anything.  She will on occasion speak back to me in growls or barks but for the most part she is a quiet listener and communicates via body language.

I talk to her all day long.  Just yesterday as we prepared to head out back for a retrieve; we stood in the kitchen getting ready.  I poured a glass of wine and a bowl of water then looked at Elsa.  She was more than ready but there was no ball present.  I asked her where the ball was and she looked around her very close vicinity.  Then I spotted one in the dining room and said "there's one" to her as her excitement went up.  She looked at me when I spoke and followed my pointing hand.  Off she ran to get her ball.  She's a great listener and has a huge list of words that she fully understands.  

Dogs are amazing listeners, most are.  What they listen for when you speak is tone and familiarity.  But Elsa didn't need to hear words to know that we were heading out for ball.  She knew what time it was and watched as all the visual cues fell into place.  

I love that Elsa understands so many words.  She is an intense girl and doesn't miss a thing; so even if I wasn't talking she still knows whats going on.  The more you talk to your dog and repeat words, their capacity for learning grows.  I have worked with dogs who were never talked to, never guided or taught verbal cues.  These dogs do not look to humans for guidance but learn their own cues to pay attention to.  

I remember someone asking me a longtime ago if I was talking to my dog.  "Yes, of course" was my response.  Like children, the more you talk to your dog the smarter they are.  Of course your words need to have meaning for a good percentage; but even when you talk nonsense to a dog who is highly aware of verbal cues, they listen.  

I am always teaching Elsa new words; especially when it is something that is regularly in her world.  They are far smarter than we can even comprehend.  So talk to your dog and teach them as many words as you can and they will amaze you.