- Pets and Animals»
- Dogs & Dog Breeds
Unleash the Secret to Teaching Your Pooch to Talk
Teach Your Pooch to Pontificate!
Dogs are not people--even though many of both species resemble one another in uncanny ways; still dogs are different. They don't drive cars and they don't play the piano (well) and they don't fill-out income taxes unless they have made more than 25,000 dollars a year, in which case the just take it to H&R Block and let them do it. But in general, dogs are built differently than humans, which leads to the first obstacle in training a dog to speak--namely they have trouble grasping the concept.
Speaking comes naturally to us from the moment we emerge from the womb we start asking questions--'where am I?' 'who is that naked lady on the table?', 'why are these men all wearing white gowns and face masks--is this a stickup?...if so I don't have any money, I don't even have a place to keep it!'....and so on. Babies are full of ideas, (at least I was as one) and they roll out concepts like Hersheys rolls out Hershey Bars on an assembly line.
The concept of concept, never mind 'grasping a concept' is beyond most dogs (there are always exceptions like Lassie and The Littlest Hobo--but lets leave them aside for the moment). So we have to work around it.
Some animals seem to have no problem with communication of sophisticated levels. Science tells us that Whales can really 'wail' and Parrots certainly 'parrot', dolphins 'dolph' and Porpoises 'porp'; Cats can ridicule and Monkeys can chatter; turtles are silent (but only by choice) and of course Horses 'ney' (never 'yea'!)
Step One--Choosing the Right Dog to Train
The fact is that not all dogs can be trained to speak. Some just don't want to. Some want to but can't keep their minds off scratching and chasing cats. Others are just too lazy to take up the challenge. So you have to find the right dog.
You can easily spot one by following these simple steps:
1. Look the dog in the eyes. Does he look like he's thinking 'hey Mack! Stop with the scrutinizing!' If so he is not your dog. You want a dog who looks back at you with the sense that he is thinking 'you poor, silly human. How happy I am that I am not you. Two legs to walk on! How do you even do it? No fur to keep you warm. I pity you.' THAT is the kind of dog you are looking for. A conscious dog with opinions.
Begin training your dog to talk by reciting something simple to him. A poem, a passage from the Bible, (or Torah); even just the alphabet. As you say each word or sentence pause to look at him. Is he listening? Just because he appears to be sleeping means nothing, by the way, as many canines learn while they sleep. In fact, if you get a bit tired from all this recitation, you could snuggle up with your little Prince Charles and have a snooze yourself! All the more energy for lessons when you awake.
Step Two--The Reward System
Here is a secret that I have not revealed to anyone but which I am un-veiling here for your benefit.
Do not wait until your doggy speaks to reward him.
Rewards prior to results often bring the best results. And make certain the reward is something you enjoy as well. Order a pizza and share is with your pomeranian, all the while tossing out words you would like him to add to his vocabularly. I always like it when my Jack Russel suddenly bursts out with "The rain in Spain Falls Mainly in the Drain!"; or "Mea Culpa Mea Culpa Mea Maxima Culpa!" when he happens to have an accident of some kind. Nothing better than a dog who owns up to his mistakes in a dead language.
By rewarding at 'random moments' (i.e. whenever YOU want a pizza for example) is a great way to instill in doggy-bow-wow a sense that 'talking is fun!' and 'filling too!'
Step Three--Beware the Bodacious Blowviate
Teaching your dog to speak has many pitfalls and problems, of course. So does teaching him to cook a decent omelette (but let's save that for another Hub). The main problem is what happens once your pouch suddenly 'clicks'; when the light bulb in his cranium gets a kilowatt extra and he jumps in the air and screams 'Eureka!' This is where the trouble starts.
Dogs are, by nature, imperiously cocky. Even the tiniest Chihuahua thinks he is man enough to wrestle a grizzly to the ground and give him what-for. So when it comes to talking, the out-pouring of nomenclature, the idioms,proverbs and platter that procede from his muzzle soon become prodigious and yes, even 'vomitory' in nature. He will make your parrot look like a mute and you will turn on the TV to drown out his inanities. But being a dog, he will take a self-bloated esteem from his new accomplishment, and like the game of 'throw me the ball and I will run and bring it back so we can do it again and again and again!'...he will talk till he drops, and then keep muttering in his sleep.
In other words, it's not long before you want to lock yourself in the attic for some simple silence.