Talking to your dog

Do you talk to your dog? We do! Little did I know, but this was one habit that proved to be very useful when Baby came along.

I talk to Loki and Jujube all the time as if they understood me. And I realized that if you repeat the same set of words or phrases, then they eventually DO understand. For instance, when I get my coat and socks on, they think that they are going out for a walk. I see that they are all excited, so I glance over at them and say "sorry". Nowadays, they understand that sorry just means that they aren't going anywhere. I also ask them how their day was and ask if they missed me. I'm not sure if they understand, but I assume that they do. Perhaps they only understand it as words upon my return. We also ask them, "Do you want to go out?", "Do you want to go on a walk?", and "Do you want a treat?" They definitely know "out", "walk", and "treat". They  know a bunch of different words that we've never specifically taught. And they only learned because we talk to them.

So, how is this useful when you have a baby? Well, language experts say that babies begin to understand language far earlier than when they begin to speak. The best way to encourage their language skills is to talk to them all the time as if they understood you. And you know what? Perhaps they do understand. I talk to Baby all the time. I tell him "I'll be right back" if I'm going away for a second and "Let's change your diaper" if I'm about to change his diaper. I ask him, "Are you hungry?" and "Do you want more?". If I always say "I'm going to change your diaper" right before a diaper change, then perhaps he will associate that sentence with a diaper change. Now, I don't really know for sure whether or not he understands, but I assume that he does. And well, one day he will. I just don't know exactly when.

I bet for some people it seems difficult to talk to someone who doesn't talk back. But I had plenty of practice on the dogs and that's one way in which having dogs has made my transition to motherhood easier.

6 comments:

Melissa said...

That's a very good point. Before having a dog of my own, I found it silly when people talk to babies and pets because they don't talk back. I now talk to Niko all the time and when i have a baby, I'm prepared to chatter away.

Julee Turner said...

Yes we talk to our Shiba constantly! And he really does understand some of the stuff we say like all those you named and if I put my tennis shoes on he really thinks its time for a walk. I say "Not now" and he seems to understand! I definitely believe that talking to your kids help them talk and understand quicker. How else will they learn?!
I have been going back and reading your post on aggression. Romeo has always been fine with other dogs but here lately when they come to our house, he has and snarled or started fights with them. We don't like that behavior and don't know where its coming from! Hoping its just a phase and we can work through it! We have too many dog friends we need to play with! :)

Susan said...

Yes, I talk to my dog. I think she understands maybe 10%, but she likes to be talked to. I think she reads my tone of voice,body language, and smell as well as understanding some words.

Shiba Tail said...

I talk to my baby and my dog all the time! I probably look a bit crazy when I do it in public, but I don't care. I think both the baby and the dogs understand me to a point - especially the dogs when I say thing like "treat" or "walk".

K9Trainer said...

I talked to my Labrador so much that he learned things most dogs couldn't be taught on purpose, like "Shhh.. listen," and "Eat/drink this," which came in super handy when I had to give him peroxide after he ate a bunch of inedible stuff. Kitsune talks back so much I have to not talk to him as much, or else he'd drive everyone else crazy with his responding yodels and howls.

Judy Whitton said...

I talk to my girls all the time and I really do think they understand a great deal of it. I know that they know what food, treat, walk, go for a ride and go to the store mean. When Sami gets into her ice cube binges, I tell her when she is getting the last one and usually after she eats that one, she will lay down on her bed.

Today I met my daughters Dad at the conservatory to take pictures and when I left, I told the girls that a visitor was coming to see them when I got back. Well, he stopped on the way to get a pizza, so I got here first. They were whining at the gate, wondering where he was, they know who the visitor is, they go insane when he is here.

I'm a firm believer that if you repeat the same words with an action, like go for a walk or go for a ride, it doesn't take long for them to understand what you are talking about.

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