Yesterday I received an email from Duke University (which is nearby) asking Izzy and me to participate in a study on how dogs understand human communication. I would love to participate, but they want us to be there four days in a row at the same time every day, and none of their dates work in with my hours at the College. What I love about the way they’re conducting their research on dog cognition is that they spend time with the dog and his/her human, but they also put the dog alone in my room to see if they will still respond to the same “cues.”
I’m going to continue to follow their research and probably do some informal research of my own with Izzy. One thing I know for sure is that he understands at least 50 words, including: treat, walk, out, go out, sit, down, off, Deb, Danny, Ellie, Peg, birds, no, stop, quiet, shush, ball, go-get-it, drop, good boy, breakfast, dinner, water, car . . . and many more. If he understands those words, is it because he understands the actual word itself or is it my tone? It’ll be worth my time to mimic what Duke is doing in order to come to my own conclusion.
If you’re interested, here’s a link to their research: http://evolutionaryanthropology.duke.edu/research/dogs/research