What human words do your pets respond to?

How Big Is a Pet’s Vocabulary?

The animals in our home seem to catch on to quite a bit of our verbal communication. We know that they read our body language, behavior, and emotions. They pick up mental and visual images. But we’ve been noticing the human language they recognize.

Seems like we’ve heard that dogs have up to about a 300 word vocabulary. Of course, parrots’ vocabulary can be incredible. So we’ve been experimenting with our cocker spaniel Leaf to find out which words have been imprinted on his young brain.

It’s more difficult to figure out with cats. Do they really not know words such as “Don’t scratch that,” and choose, cat-like, to ignore the plea/command? It’s easier to tell what words our bird knows. He says, “Hello,” and “I love you, sweet baby.”

Below are a few of Leaf’s vocabulary achievements.

Popcorn: mentioned at any volume from any part of the house, brings him running

Carrots: see above for popcorn

Banana: see above for popcorn and carrots

Greenie: see above for popcorn, carrots, and banana

Pampered Pooch: his favorite doggy day care center

Dog park: brings him and his orange ball to the back door, fired up and ready to go

Up, up, up: entices him to jump onto the bed for a squeeze, kisses, and a tummy rub.

Tummy, tummy, tummy: elicits a rollover that’s faster than money moving from a 401K to an IRA account

Squeaky toy: causes him to root through his collection for favorite toy of the moment

To be fair he still remembers, sort of, his dog school training commands:

Sit (more like, squat for a second),

Stay (more like, pause),

Shake (more like, wave your paw around),

Down (more like, I’ll think about it and decide if I want to)

What human words do your pets respond to?
Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network – Where Pets Are Family
www.angelanimals.net

One thought on “What human words do your pets respond to?

  1. My cat won’t respond to “Did you eat.” She’ll respond to “do you want to eat.”
    Even after I fed her and I say “do you want to eat” she’ll respond. Seems like the key words are “Did” and “Do.”

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