Tuesday, 25 January 2011

increasing a dog's vocabulary

After watching more of the BBC television programme, 'The Secret Life of Dogs', I was amazed by the canine genius who has a vocabulary of more than three hundred words. Betsy can bring on command a huge array of named objects. And, if you watch the video clip, you will see that she can even conceptualise from a scale model of an object to the thing itself, and even from a photograph, which I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't seen it on the BBC.

Now, Penny isn't a genius, that's for sure. But, until she had surgery on her cruciate ligament and we stopped most of her activities, she was using her brain for tricks, doggie dancing and training, every week, if not every day.

When we were told she needed to take care with the leg, we began to restrict her activities. We eventually resumed walking, and now swimming, but we forgot about the intellectual stimulation she needs.

So, it's back to training for Penny. Here's a video of our usual amateurish style of 'kitchen training'. We're challenging ourselves to increase Penny's vocabulary and I reckon by the time she's 110 (human) years old, she should know as many words as Betsy.

12 comments:

Maggie and Mitch said...

Our mom talks to us all the time and we understand more and more of what she's saying to us!

Love ya lots
Maggie and Mitch

Stanislaw said...

Sheesh! That trick was hard to do! You've definitely inspired mom for a new trick when we're done with the ball.

P.S. - Big Pupi knows almost 200 words and commands, but I'm not so sure he could wrap his brain around a scale model or a photograph...

Two Pitties in the City said...

Very cool! I think we should be doing more of this type of training. We've been lazy, and hearing that children get a good vocabulary by just listening to words, we've been leaving NPR on for the dogs every day. I wonder what they can tell us about domestic policy.

Jess the Dog Shopper said...

Have you tried the match game?? It teaches your dog to bring an object not only by using words, but also by using visual processing. All you have to do is buy a duplicate of a toy you already have and start showing her the toy you want to match. It's a lot of fun watching their brains figure out what you want!

Honey the Great Dane said...

HA! HA! Gosh - you're ambitious! I don't think Honey's even learnt our names yet! When Paul asks her "where's Hsin-Yi?"- she just looks at him blankly! :-) I think I'd settle for Honey bringing any of her toys if I say the word "toy" - never mind naming specific toys and adding an descriptor too!

But good luck with your training! :-)
Hsin-Yi

Serendipity said...

She should, judging at the rate she's going! Maybe you can even train her to talk, like Mishka

Here's the link at youtube if you haven't already seen it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRw-lfXy_tQ


But I wouldn't want to try it on Happy though (not that I could!). I may have a problem getting her to keep quiet after that LOL. As it is now, at times she grumps back at me like an old lady :-)

parlance said...

Maggie and Mitch, I never doubted that you understand lots of English, because I read what you write on your blog, lol.

parlance said...

Stanislaw, that Big Pupi sure gives you a lot to live up to!

parlance said...

Two Pitties, the main thing about domestic policy you should focus on is your important work of raising awareness of what a great breed you are. You are champions!

parlance said...

Jess, what a great idea. In fact, I think I might check the toy box, because I think I might have accidentally bought two of some of them.

parlance said...

Honey, you are such a role model for Penny in obedience that I think you could rest on your laurels.

parlance said...

Serendipity, thank-you, thank-you! That was so-o funny!