How many words does your dog understand?
Sure everyone’s dog knows the basic “sit” “stay” “down”. But if you really want to impress your friends you can teach your dog over 100 words. It just takes time, motivation and patience.
The first time I met a dog who could pick out his toys by name was when I was in college. My friend had a bird and this bird talked nonstop. Their dog’s name was Rufus and he was a busy little dog. The bird would call for Rufus he would come running into the living room looking at the humans to see who called him.
When he figured out that it was the bird he would look up at the cage and bark. The bird would call out a toy. “Rufus get your bone”, Rufus would run around the house until he found the bone and bring it to the birds cage. The dog would get any toy by name, bone, ball, bear etc. The bird often liked to play with Rufus by calling for him to get a toy and before Rufus could bring him that toy he would call out another one. This would put poor Rufus into a frenzy trying as many dogs do to please the bird. Rufus never failed to bring every toy that the bird called.
I was so impressed by this little dog. I thought that he was the smartest dog ever. Today I know that all dogs can learn this trick. You simply choose one toy. Lay the toy on the ground in front of the dog and tell him ” get the bone”. Once he does you give him lots of praise. After a few repetitions, try putting the bone with other toys and ask him to “get the bone”. If he goes for another toy simply ignore him and keep saying “get the bone”. When he gets the bone, praise, praise , praise. With practice, your dog can learn to associate words with objects.
This game is a great way to direct your dog from unwanted behavior. Entertain guest when they come over. But most importantly it is a great way to bond with your dog. This game requires participation from both owner and pet. The time spent learning any new trick build a trusting and positive, fun relationship.