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View Diary: Dog Linguistics, Part 2: Can Dogs Predict Phonemic Splits? (30 comments)

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  •  Absolutely fascinating (11+ / 0-)

    Thank you very much for writing this series.

    I have to admit, my interest is more focused where I have experience, in dog behavior, than the linguistics side. But like the boundlessly curious border collie, I'm working hard to understand the ramifications of the linguistics too.

    Few observations...

    Obviously, as you mentioned, tone of commands has a lot to do with a dog's understanding. (hence the similar response to "kisses" and "besos".) Tone can tremendously help to overcome the different speech patterns we non-linguists would call accents.

    Not just anyone can give a dog a command, even a well trained dog, and expect an accurate or reliable measure of the response. A command can only come from a pack member. If it comes from anyone else, it's no more than a suggestion. A positive response will indicate understanding, but a non-response won't necessarily indicate a lack of understanding.

    These studies make me wonder about how dogs communicate among themselves. How many of their vocalizations have specific meanings? And are those meanings universally understood across canine populations.

    Fascinating stuff. Thanks again.

    •  "If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some (13+ / 0-)

      influence, try ordering somebody else's dog around."
      -- Will Rogers

    •  That's true. (6+ / 0-)

      Not anyone can give a command to a dog.

      Itzl has been trained not to respond to other people's commands. as a service dog, he can only take commands from a limited number of people (me, and when I give the transfer command, his trainer, the vet, my children, my siblings, his inner harem, and that's it), and he will take food only from a smaller number of people than he will take commands from.

      All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

      by Noddy on Fri May 10, 2013 at 01:44:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You'd be surprised. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Hand your dog off to a top-rate trainer (or other experience handler) and your dog (whatever his/her skill level) will likely be a mushy pile of obedience eager to please.

      It's not "pack member," so much as its human who shows ( either instantly or over time) that they deserve respect. I'm not talking about people like Cesar Millan either. I'm talking about trainers who use proven cruelty-free "positive" techniques. They exude confidence and a sense that your dog will be safe with them. A smart, emotionally healthy, well socialized dog recognizes that instantly.

      © grover

      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Sat May 11, 2013 at 01:02:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was a dog trainer (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        for many years. I know how it works. It is not just a matter of respect. It is hierarchy among the pack. A dog that gets a command that is understood from someone (human or other dog) that is above them in their pack is incapable of not responding to that command unless there are circumstances beyond their control (i.e., dogs can't do some things when they're stressed or excited, like eat or sit, respectively). If the command comes from someone outside their pack, it is never anything more than a suggestion. Some dogs will almost always obey, some never will.

        I agree that cruelty-free positive techniques are better. It's exactly what I was trained to use. Some dogs are always eager to please. Others, not so much. There really are dogs who don't give a shit. And it varies among breeds. Terriers, for instance, particularly the small ratters, are notoriously difficult to train, and unless they're treat trained (a technique I never used), will rarely respond to anyone outside their pack.

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