Post by Peter Moylan Post by Janet Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
That's interesting. When I call out to my dog (renown for good
HF hearing) I wonder what he hears when I say "Come Harvey,
come here boy" ?
He hears a demented yelping that suggests something interesting may
be going on in your locality. It's not what you say it's the way
that you say it.
We once had a GS cross collie dog who understood over a hundred
words; (many assistance dogs do the same).
Here's Chaser, the dog which can identify over a thousand.
I've tried to teach English to my cats, with disappointing results. I
did manage to get Basil to learn the command "jump"; that was necessary
because he so often sits on an inconvenient arm of my armchair when I'm
sitting in it. "Jump" gets him to move to the other arm. (But then, half
the time, he immediately jumps back.)
The major success with both cats is that they have learnt that "puss,
puss, puss" means "tuna".
I've noticed that my cats substitute sheer bloody-minded persistence for
intelligence. At least, that's my definition of what they do when they
know perfectly well that I am indicating that I want to sit in the most
comfortable chair in the place, but they won't move. Or they get back in
it approximately 0.0005 seconds after I get up.
One of my cats is, according to the vet, a little on the large size and
needs to lose weight. Allowing only carefully-measured amounts of food
(and knowing that cat #2 swipes some of it) doesn't make the slightest
difference. Maybe she sleeps more so as to need less food and maintain
the weight that the vet doesn't like. Anyway, the other way to deal with
weight is to increase exercise, so I periodically get new cat toys to
tempt them into movement. I have my doubts about the type of toy that
uses food to get them to move more. One of the treat balls is on a
little stand. The cat that uses it most doesn't seem to understand - or
be capable of learning - that you have to swat to ball in a particular
way to spin it on the stand so that the food will come out. She just
swats more or less randomly at the ball and the stand. Nevertheless, all
the food disappears from the ball in about 12 hours. Persistence, that
is, not intelligence.