This morning there was an article in the national news that said experts now believe that dogs can understand a lot of what they hear. Apparently, some German researchers found a border collie named Rico who understands more than 200 words. Rico also apparently can learn new words as quickly as many children.
This information comes as no shock to me. If you whisper the word "treat" anywhere near the swinish white dog, Cami is in your face in a heartbeat. No one can tell me that Cami doesn’t associate the word treat with food. She KNOWS it means food and is completely offended if you say the word and don’t give her a treat. That’s just plain wrong in the Cami World View.
"Out" is another word she, and all the other dogs, definitely understand. If you say, "do you want to go out?" all members of the canine community thunder to the entryway.
Of course, our dogs aren’t particularly smart and I think most dog owners have the same experience. Dogs pay attention and respond to you and what you say. Apparently other experts and trainers were as unimpressed with the findings as I was. One behaviorist pointed out that studies in the 1900s came to pretty much the same conclusion: dogs don’t need to be able to talk to understand words.
And as border collie owners will attest, Rico isn’t unusual. A lot of dogs have no problem outsmarting their owners 😉