Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Talking Dogs

Warning: Non-Medieval Content

Can dogs talk? I used to have a dog that could say a few words (though never on command).* One of those words was "Grandma," which she only said when Grandma was around. The first time she said it, we were picking blackberries and raspberries with Grandma on the other side of the fence from her, and she couldn't get over the fence.

When she said "Grandma," everyone stopped and stared at her. We couldn't believe it, and it was unmistakeable. When she spoke, it didn't sound like her normal whine -- it sounded like she was trying to approximate human speech.

Contrary to what Stanley Coren claims, over the years it became clear that the dog knew that Grandma was the name of that person; she never uttered it inappropriately (like while begging for a treat). Of course, that's probably the limit to what a dog could say intelligently -- a name or a single-word noun. In retrospect, I'm a little surprised she never said cheese.

*When I was a kid, everyone outside our family thought it was a joke that we said one of our dogs could talk. Now, with the ubiquity of talking dogs on YouTube, I'm guessing all doubt is gone.

1 comment:

  1. Robert S.7:42 PM

    I love to watch the talking dogs on youtube. This Los Angeles dog bite attorneys page use to have a bunch of funny stuff on there like that, they've taken most of it off recently or maybe their just updating it.