But, did you know…a 2009 study revealed dogs are about as smart as a toddler. What does that mean? It means our furry friends can learn and understand about 150-200 words (some even learn more.) According to a feature article on CNN.com about the study, psychologists, using adapted tests designed for human children, determined that dogs could count, reason, and recognize words and gestures equal to a human two-year-old. Additionally, the study concluded that the average dog can understand about 165 words, including signs, signals and gestures, and count to about 5.
Not too long ago, when I couldn’t sleep, I started creating a mental list of every word Ginger (and her sister before her, Shadow) recognized, or at the very least, responded to, when I said it. It soon became my bedtime ritual to think of more words to add to the list. Before long, I was writing them down in a small notebook I keep on my window seat by my bed.
After a week’s worth of thinking, I counted (roughly) 88 and listed them below.
Words Ginger and Shadow (or both) recognize: Bad, Bath, Catch, Come, Crawl, Down, Drop, Heel, Here, Hungry?, Hurry, Find it, Fuzzy Wuzzy, Get it, Give me, Ginger, Good, Good girl, Go, Go lie down, Go to your bed, Honey Bunny, I’ll be back, Jump, Kisses, Leave it, Let’s go, No, Off, OK, Out, Outside?, Pal Pal, Quiet, Ready?, Shadow, Shadowmeister, Shake, Stand, Stay, Stick, Vacuum, That’s right, Touch, Toy (and the names of them all–too many to list here), Treat, Up, Walk, Watch, Water, Where is it?
How many words does your dog recognize? What is the most unique word he or she knows?
Until the next time…
Got Lab? Click here to subscribe to Labrador Life Line’s monthly e-newsletter Lab Gab.