Much like a child learns to associate the word “Dooooggie!” with a four-legged furry animal, your puppy develops early vocabulary. Sit, stay, toy, ball, as well as the association of letters and meanings. For instance, did you ever find yourself spelling the word … O-U-T-S-I-D-E?
165 Words +
According to Dr. Coren, who is an expert in canine intelligence, an average dog understands approximately 165 words with the potential to learn many more. Chaser, a border collie trained retired Wofford College professor and psychologist Dr. John W. Pilley, has a vocabulary of over 1000 words.
Consistency is Key
If your dog understands “sit” but training is not consistent, e.g. other family members say “sit down here,” your puppy or dog may not associate the word and the phrase. For this reason it is important everyone uses the same word. A single word such as “sit” is more clear than “sit down here.”
Linking words and objects such as sit, ball, outside, to its meaning helps your dog make the association. For example, “Treat!” typically renders a fairly universal response, while “It’s a nice day”, may return a wag if the said in a tone that suggests going for a walk, whilst “Treat!” is typically followed by a tasty morsel. Choosing a word such as “outside” over “exercise” is not as important as consistantly associating the word with the activity.
Every keen dog can learn to be a Keen K9®
Every keen dog learns at their own pace. Both young and adult dogs have the capacity to learn new words.