Is it possible that dogs understand the English language? If so, then my puppy, Jellybean, would be considered a high achiever, at least in the canine world. She has all the normal conversational words down pat; go potty, walk, leash, treat. However, my smart little cookie comprehends entire conversations. Case in point; yesterday as I was preparing to do laundry, I looked at Jellybean and said, “So…what did you do with my sock?” Ever since she was a puppy, Jellybean has slept with my socks. She lays claim to them as soon as I take them off. Therefore, I would naturally assume she would know the location of my blue sneaker sock’s partner. She looked up at me with those big black eyes, as if to say “Well, how would I know?” Then, she suddenly turned and ran down the steps. As I was putting the laundry in the washing machine, Jellybean came running out of the guest bedroom, my blue sock dangling from her mouth. Wow! That is downright amazing!
This evening Jellybean was stretched out in the middle of the living room floor, a pout on her face and some serious dog whining going on. “What’s the matter Jellybean? Isn’t anyone paying any attention to you? Why don’t you go get the bone you hid this morning after breakfast? Remember, you didn’t have time to eat it before I had to leave for the morning.” And just like that she took off like a hound dog chasing a rabbit. Two minutes later, she came trotting back into the living room, bone clenched tightly between her shiny white teeth. A minute later, the crunchy bone was history and Jellybean was once again a happy camper.
All I have to say is “Jellybean, the cows are out!” She comes running. She heads for the sectional sofa, the chaise to be exact and positions herself on the edge so that she can watch the cows that have gathered by the fence in the shade. She is fascinated by their tails that are constantly in motion as they keep the summer flies at bay. Me? I am just amazed that I live in the suburbs and have cows in my backyard and have a dog that understands where the cows are busy shading themselves.
When sitting on the sofa in the evening, I look at her and ask, “Jellybean, did you talk to Lambie today?” She looks at me, head tilted, then looks at the lamb-shaped pillow pet on the floor in front of the television, looks back at me, and takes off. She sniffs at Lambie’s ears affectionately, pulls at her with her paws, almost like she is fluffing her up, then, pounces on her fluffy friend. It is a nightly ritual.
How does she know what I am saying? I have correctly assumed she picks up on some key words, such as sock and bone. According to Animal Planet, the average dog can understand somewhere around 165 different words. They can actually learn all kinds of words, especially if they are associated with concrete actions or objects. I’m sure Jellybean has mastered at least 300 different words, as she is definitely smarter than the average bear. It never ceases to amaze me, though, how she appears to listen to my conversations and know what I am talking about. No doubt, she is one smart cookie!
Beverly Stiffler Smith