Sunday, June 29, 2014

Dogs Love Sentences In Question Form?

More than once I saw an argument about this.

Do dogs get excited about particular words? Or is it sentences in question form?


Or is it a combination of the two? That is the question (pun intended).

There is no doubt that some words are heavily loaded, such as treat, cookie, walk ... Does your dog perk up because of the words or because you asked them whether they want one? Do we actually need to spell certain words in conversation if we don't want our dogs to get excited in vain?

Some argue that it is the question form that causes the excitement.

Something good always follows after a question.

"Do you want a cookie?"
"Do you want to go for a walk?"
"Who's a good girl/boy?"

I don't know about you but it seems that nobody asks questions such as:
"Do you want to go to a vet?"
"Do you want your nails trimmed?"

Or do they?

And what would happen if they did?

With Jasmine, she did understand words or statements. The reason I'm confident about that is that when I asked something new, something she hasn't heard before, there was the thoughtful look on her face. I could see clearly she knew it was something different and she was trying to figure out what it meant.

If we used the word "w-a-l-k" in conversation, she would still perk up and expect one.

Other words, used in conversation, though, didn't seem to matter to her much. Unless used in question form.

And here is the other thing.

Could we influence how our dogs feel about certain things if we simply announced them in a form of a question?

Or would we simply spoil the questions by tainting them with an unpleasant outcome?

Does your dog get excited when you ask them a question? What about if you use the same word in a conversational tone?


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14 comments

  1. I think it's more tone of voice that they respond to. Certainly they 'know' certain words, but you can also get them riled up with nonsense words with your tone of voice.

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    1. Yes, hence the argument for sentences in question form. Jasmine did "read" the words as well, but she was special. I could use the exact intonation as in "do you want to go for a walk?" in a different sentence and I could see she was interested but also knowing this was not something she knew what it meant.

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  2. This is a great point. We never thought about it, but for questions, we always get excited and tip our heads, never for statements, and questions are always positive things. Mom says she would feel bad asking if we wanted to go to the vet because we would be excited and then let down. Very interesting!

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    1. It's thoughtful of your mom that she doesn't ask you if you want to go to the vet because you'd be disappointed.

      We did ask Jasmine if she wanted to see Dr. so and so, because, in spite of all she's been through, she loved going to the vets.

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  3. I'm with SlimDoggy. When we ask a question, our voices usually get high and squeaky which usually excites dogs. Of course, that doesn't mean dogs don't associate certain words (or the spelling of certain words) with important meanings too.

    Here's an experiment: ask your dog if she wants to go for a walk in a high squeaky questioning voice one day. The next day, ask if she wants to go for a walk in a husky, low voice. I'm curious to know if she responds more to the word walk or to the tone of voice.

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    1. Jasmine responded to the word walk even when used in conversation; she responded to it being thought ... LOL

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  4. I never thought of it like this before, but this is a great point. Now I can't wait to get home to talk to the dogs. LOL

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    1. Are you going to experiment? Let me know the results :-)

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  5. I've always talked to my dogs in complete sentences and they know what I am saying to them. If we only use simple words, that is all they would know. They have a growing vocabulary.

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    1. I use sentences when I'm generally talking to them. When I want them to actually do something, I simplify.

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  6. My standard poodle listens for the words in a question. Even if it's for someone else if it's a word he knows, he's into the conversation. I can ask any question, with a higher voice at the end, and he ignores me unless it's one he wants answered himself!
    LeeAnna for Cole at not afraid of color lapaylor.blogspot.com

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    1. Very clever :-) I do think it's a combination of the words and sound.

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  7. I would say my dog Ace definitely gets more excited if I say something in the form of a question. Maybe that's because it usually results in something good like food or a walk or a toy.

    Interesting topic!

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    1. Yes, that's what I suspect. Predictor of good things.

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