Does Your Dog Listen When You Talk to Him? : Photo Friday

By Deborah Taylor-French

Are you a pet lover who admits you talk to your pets?

Is your dog a good listener?

“Almost half of the pet owners surveyed admit they sometimes talk to their pet. And 80% of those people stated that on those occasions, the animal seemed to respond by means of sounds, facial expressions, or body language.” Petfinder 

Sure, I talk to my dog. He is a good listener, tilting his head, smiling or frowning along with my speech. Some dogs know over a thousand words. Sydney may not know that many, but he makes up for it by being sympathetic, and at times an enthusiastic listener.

What conversations do you have with your dog?

  • Do you talk about food, going for a drive or visiting a dog park?
  • Do you tell your dog your troubles, like I do? Does he give good advice?
  • I like to talk to Sydney. He never says, “NO!” Well, hardly ever.

Being in the moment, dogs tune into our tone of voice. I can see him working out what will come of my talk.

  • Maybe he thinks, when will she say the word “Walk?”
  • His head shoots up when I ask, “Out?”
  • Sydney knows the words, “Food, breakfast, snack, treat and dinner.”
Hey, that sounds good. You said, "Treat."
Does your dog listen to you?

You ask how do I know my dog listens?

Because his ears go up, then he runs to his bed by our kitchen table, waiting to be fed. We taught him polite manners. He knows he must wait in his bed while we make and serve his meals. It strikes me funny, that he does this. Being a little dog,  Sydney tends toward excitable behavior. Anything he loves (like food) makes him dance, wiggle, and go yipping in circles. I know he does NOT go to his bed and wait because it is his own idea. (Guess why dozens of dog training methods got started.)

No way! Sydney would love to climb in the refrigerator and help himself. Dogs want to get straight to their food.

Hey, what did you say?
Imagine a thought bubble over this dog’s head. He’s thinking, I hope I heard the words, ‘Dog Park.’

Some people who buy puppies believe that getting a young pup will stop a dog from begging. Oh, please.

Any passing child, dropping a cracker or cookie and…viola! A pricy purebred puppy just learned people food tastes yummy.

Even our rescue rabbit, only with us for less than a month, knows how to beg. Yep, Tokyo Tuxedo came already food motivated. Our organic carrot tops and tiny carrots bring him running. One afternoon I opened a box of raspberries and ate a few. He jumped, came hopping and sniffed my breath, so I offered one. He wriggled and shivered with delight as he ate it.

Hey, do you have a carrot?
I hope you speak carrot and apple.

Note: With pet rabbits under 6 pounds, give only  tiny bits of fruit daily.

Okay, give us a clue.

What do you say to your dog? Does he listen?

3 thoughts on “Does Your Dog Listen When You Talk to Him? : Photo Friday

  1. Farley listens for words and sounds. When I turn on my running GPS and it beeps, he knows it’s time to go running, and he bolts to the back of our sailboat. When he hears my running partner’s dinghy approach the back of our boat, he runs back and jumps in. He knows he comes for a run with us. I think he’s running motivated. He sure isn’t food motivated and doesn’t beg. Now, we’ve never fed him from the table, but I swear, if I drop a piece of steak on the floor he won’t touch it until I say okay. He won’t eat from his food bowl until I say okay.

    But he does listen when we talk and waits for key words he understands.

    Oh, and I make him listen as a read draft after draft of my manuscript out loud, and he always wags his tail to tell me how good it is:)


    1. Hey, Kristina! Sounds like Farley is one smart cookie. Lee Duncan, trainer of Rin Tin Tin, taught his dog to never take any food from anyone but Lee. One of his stories Lee told was that a hotel sent up cold raw steak. Lee put in on the floor and told his dog to wait. Lee thought dogs should never eat cold refrigerated foods. Two hours later, friends returned with Lee to find the dog had not touched the meat.

      Some dogs are motivated to please. Others are foodies. We call Sydney Pork Chop or “The Whole Pig.”


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