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i began thinking the other day about how many words a dog can recognize. i thought it may be a fun topic to see the different words our dogs know and understand. ifeel sorry for the folks who have no idea that dogs canbe taught to know different words. just off the top of my head here are a few my dogs know:






daddy is home

uncle dean is here

ice cream



i'm sure there are more, but that's just the ones that come to mind.

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You know, I was thinking about that, too. My dog picks up names for things really quickly. I'd say his vocabulary is easily in the hundreds. A quick count came up to 42. I'm sure there are dozens more that are more subtle, that we use when we're out in the world.


I agree that there are people who don't realize the potential of their dogs, whether it be in vocabulary or in general understanding of the world.



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Zoey and Fenn know (besides basic commands):


Aunt Kristy

Sasa (my mother's nickname from nieces/nephews)

Grandma and Grandpa




Bite (as in want a bite of this?)











Go Pee

Go Poop

Kitty (Fenn barks and Zoey runs to the window to see said Kitty)

Orlando (to the "grandparents")




Go to mommy's bed vs. Go to your crate (Crate if no one is home when I leave, my bed if daddy is still asleep)

Bath (Fenn first climbs you, then runs and hides at this)

Want (You can put this in any sentence Do you want.......and they will tilt their heads trying to understand what you are asking)



That is what comes to mind immediately. We spell frequently or constantly use other words if possible.

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Wow, what fun. I think the recent Nat'l Geographic article on animal intelligence (that featured a BC on the cover) showed conclusively that many BCs have a vocabulary in the 100s, including nouns, verbs, and adjectives.


Odin is so young, but already knows:






Uncle Ben

Margie (in-laws' dog)

Blue-man, Panda, Wolf, Rope, Lobster, Sheep, Ball, and Frisbee (all toys)


get your ___

take your ___

several basic commands

training (as in, you want some trainin'?)

turn tricks (as in, let's go turn some tricks! :rolleyes::D)





Now I'm really excited to teach him how to count someday, if I can figure out how! If any dog could deal with abstract thought, I'd guess it would be BCs. Already, Odin figured out when I say "speak" he delivers one sharp bark, but if I say "speak-speak" he is expected to deliver exactly two before I will click. And I click twice. Or the alphabet - symbolic abstraction, anyone?

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oooh! oooh!


I can play,too.


Lewie just turned a year old last month.




down/up stairs


LEAVE the kitty!


treat ball

find your treat ball

lamb baby

blue baby

red bone


toy box

Sweetheart, take your bone on the (throw) rug (so's not to scratch the floor)

car ride








Aunt Mary

Uncle Vern (LOVES Uncle Vern!)

Uncle Glenn

Mr Jack and Miss Laura (neighbors)

ranch/dog star (as in Dog Star Ranch for day care)

we're just learning "backpack"


sit, down, wait, high five, leave it


And the beat goes on. :rolleyes:

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oh geez let's see


their own names, sit, stay, stand, down, high five, leave it, take it, heel (but they don't enjoy it), cookies, chicken, rice, ice, bone, go find it, rope, ball, frisbee, leash, daddy, go play - insert person or other dog's name here- (particularly nice when I don't want to play), up up, over, bring it here, too far, kisses, naughty, pictures, you're invisable, crate, snarles barkley, lovins, snuggles, outside, kitchen, nuh-nights, crazy ears, uh oh, poo, potty, get off, tortuga, grandma, chrissy, knock it off... for the sake of space I will stop. They do have quite a vocabulary now that I sit down and try and write it out. Poke loves new words, he always tries to figure them out. Ceana is not as enthusiastic, but she has a memory some people I know would envy so once she learns them, they are stuck.

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What a great thread!

Its really interesting to see what what other have taught their dogs.... and what a smart bunch they all are.



Here are Jak & Lizzy's.....

Basic commands, plus…

Shwimin’ (swimming)







Harness (Jak comes running, sits and offers a paw to make it easier to get on faster)

Wanna (means we’re heading out somewhere & the dogs are coming with us)



Office (back of the truck… no they don’t ride in an open truck)




Sups (breakfast & dinner)





Bed (mine)


Out (run out away from me, for the frisbee, or a piece of agility equipment)

Swing (when I want them to run around me)

Left & right (when looking for a stick in tall grass)

Back (to stay behind the skis while skiing, or bike while biking)




Paw (when I want to shake one)

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On a slow night (?), my husband and I actually sat down and wrote out all the words that now 3 1/2 year old Scooter knows. We were amazed! Well over 100 words and phrases, along with various hand motions and facial expressions (ours). :rolleyes: It's really like having another person in the house and yes, we spell A LOT!!! LOL! Aren't BCs fun?!! :D Once he learns to spell, we're screwed! :D

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fun topic! I take it you mean words/phrases we didn't conciously set out to teach them? Off the top of my head: "are you thirsty?", "do you want a cookie?", "stay inside", "where's ___?", "go zoomies", "you be good, I'll be home soon", "that's not for eating!", "Thank you (drop it)", "that's my sock!", "no digging", "no barking", "dog park", "fire trail", "oops, I dropped some", "behind you", "magic sausage", "chicken sticks", "chewy bone", "on the curb", "on the street", "say hello/goodbye", "dinnertime", "big kiss (said by me while she's greeting my bf, or vice versa)"

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fun topic! I take it you mean words/phrases we didn't conciously set out to teach them?


Yeah, I guess we talk to Scooter in complete sentences, now that I think about it. We're very polite. He knows "Excuse me," and that means he needs to move from a certain spot, "What do you want?" usually brings eye and head motion from him so we know exactly what he wants. "Thank you," works the same as "Good boy!" when we tell him to do/not do something and he obeys. When we ask him if he wants a certain food item (cheese, chicken, cookie), if he wants it he sticks his tongue out. If he doesn't stick out his tongue, we know he's not interested. Comes in handy too, since he's not food motivated. We taught him early that if something was "chocolate", it wasn't for him. I guess what it amounts to is "we" know over a hundred of his words and facial expressions! LOL! :rolleyes:

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Here's some of the ones mine know. The name after it is which dog/dogs know the word


Who's that? (for Jetta it means someone she knows is comming, for Hannah and Turbo it means someone is comming good or bad)

There it is - for all 3 means something they want to "get" - ie squirrel

The Cat!! - for Hannah and Turbo means there's a cat in the yard that needs chasing out

Go in the car - all 3

Inside - Hannah

Outside - Hannah

Get upstairs - Hannah

Out of the Kitchen - all 3 mind you Turbo isn't very good at it

Go lie down - Hannah

On your Mat - Hannah and Jetta - go to the mat and stay there

Dinner - all 3

Breakfast - all 3

Cookie - all 3

Xena - Turbo - one of his friends

Little Plane - Turbo - he loves chasing a remote control plane

Ball - Hannah and Turbo

Frizbee - Hannah

Pinecone - Hannah

Rock - Hannah

Stick - Hannah

In you go - Hannah - go in the x-pen

Kennel - Hannah - go in a crate

Off the road - Hannah and Jetta

Off the grass - Hannah and Jetta

Have a drink - Hannah

Water - Jetta - sometimes my parents forget to refill her water and she gets all excited if you say it and she has none and is thirsty

Hose Game - Turbo - he attacks the spray from the hose

Cabin - Jetta

Round - Hannah and Turbo - spin in a circle

Back - Hannah - back up

Closer - Hannah - come towards me

Knock it off or Thats Enough! Hannah and Turbo - when I'm mad at what they're doing - ie fighting, attacking the cat, Hannah giving her evil eye to the cat or Jetta

No - Hannah - means stop what you are doing - ie if I say no and she's running towards a piece of agility equipment she'll stop and turn to see what I want. For her its not really a bad word, just a word to make her stop whatever she is doing usually motion related.

No - Turbo and Jetta - means no ie they are being bad

Leave it - Hannah and Turbo

Play - Hannah and Turbo - try to get them to play together


Hannah also knows the numbers 3, 2 and 1. My fiancee used to have a potato canon and he'd count down 3, 2, 1 and then fire it. Hannah decided at one point she was afraid of the noise and she's always remembered his count down. It was probably 6 years ago now but she still remembers. If he starts saying it she runs to us and gets all submissive. We were playing around with it the other day and I had him say other numbers in the same tone of voice and it was most definitly only 3, 2 and 1 that she reacted to. Now, those same numbers said in the sucsession 1, 2, 3 gets an excitement response from both Hannah and Turbo because we hold them back and say 1, 2, 3 go and they race each other.


Those are all the ones I can think of right now.

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ya know..I am not really sure lol, I have thought about it, but I am not sure how to figer it out, because I dont talk to happy in commands, I tend to talk to her like she is just another person in the house, and she understands 97% of it, so I assume she understands a lot of words lol. the rest of my dogs I think mostly pick up just the basic phrases..food, supper, walk, car, leash, collar..that sort of thing :rolleyes:

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Love this thread!

My most useful conversations with Skye entail me saying:

Go lie down in the shade and

Leave it - it's just a bunny. (Of course, this might have to change to: Leave it - it's just a chihuahua) :rolleyes:


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Wheres your sheep. Look.


Come bye

Lie Down

That'll Do



Walk Up



Go potty


Leave it


But the best part about what my dogs understand, is what I want without having to say anything. :rolleyes:

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We've had to come up with several alternatives for "car" and "go"... and we do NOT say "ride" EVER on purpose -- much like everyone else. But now our Belle and Little'un have learned what we're meaning when we spell r-i-d-e. We're hoping "excursion" fools 'em for a little while.


This morning, Belle wanted to go outside before I was ready to go. When I told her, "You're just going to have to let yourself out if you want to go now," she did. I didn't see her do it, but I heard the screen door slam shut. By the time I got there, she was sitting on the porch looking in at me with a VERY satisfied expression. It's just one of those lever door handles, but still...

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Come by, away, steady, walk up, easy, get outa that(used when he is pushier than needed), lie down, stay, that'll do, sheep, chickens, get in the yard, wait, load up, there, move, Lonny's home, find it, do you want it? (responds with his left paw up and "pawing" mid air, unfortunately, he expanded on this and if you ignore him when he drops a toy at your feet to throw, he will paw your feet! Gotta be careful with these guys! LOL), frizbee, where's your frizbee?, wanna scooby treat?, where are your scooby treats?, wanna go. All I can think of at the moment.



Stay, sit, that'll do, lie down, bring it to me(brings what I point to), wait, get in the yard, wanna scooby treat?, frizbee, where's the frizbee?, Lonny's home, wanna bite?, load up, Skipstopbitingonjackson!, and the one he obviously DOESN'T know, Skipifyoudon'tstoppissingonthatcabinetI'mgonnaknockyourpeckerinthedirt!!!!!

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This morning, Belle wanted to go outside before I was ready to go. When I told her, "You're just going to have to let yourself out if you want to go now," she did. I didn't see her do it, but I heard the screen door slam shut. By the time I got there, she was sitting on the porch looking in at me with a VERY satisfied expression. It's just one of those lever door handles, but still...


Oh, my gosh, I LOVE that! :D


Who says they need opposable thumbs to conquer the world? :rolleyes:

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" go find president Bush"

" go find Hillary Clinton"

"go find Mike(the other border collie "

"go find Osama Bin Laden"

"go play your guitar"

"beach time"

"leave me alone I am watching TV"

"kiss Mike"



"turn off the lights' (yes she can do this)



here is a video of Lucy finding Osama

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heel, sit, stay, come, stand, heel back (to the left) around, to the right, take it, over, jump, back up, load up, go potty, go poop, thank you, I love you, you are pretty (all hand signals for these, too) enough, out, quit licking! go chill, TOMMY!! Grandma, easy, take time, nap time, go to your box, baaaad boy, dinner, pill (Bailey used to take them) halt- picked this up from drilling obedience- grandkids, lie down, in the BACK seat, gimme a hug, PT CRISUER- game I play with my oldest grandson (we count them), sorry, buddy, you gotta stay home, that'll do, off, where's my da*n phone?, go find it, and most important HELP!

Things that really make his head tilt- frisbee, tennis ball, nascar,doggy bar, cookie, cheese, hot dog.

I'm sure there's a lot more, but that's all I can think of now.

P.S. Love Osama

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