Harrison
Name:Harrison Location:United States

The Original Lovable Little Fuzzball

Here's the straight stuff.


The adventures of Harrison are true.
Try a few of his Crunchy Bites for a taste.
--Alpha Human Mom





Sunday, June 13, 2004


Busted

Research Shows Dogs Understand Language

This is something new and different? The only reason we're called "dumb animals" is because we can't speak English very well. And where are the pc police on that insult I'd like to know. I'm not too sure I like the idea our cover's been blown all over the news, though.

"As many a dog owner will attest, our furry friends are listening. Now, for the doubters, there is scientific proof they understand much of what they hear."

We've been understanding humans for centuries, which is more than I can say about humans understanding us. Look how hard it was for Lassie to convince humans Timmy had fallen in the well for the umpteenth time. You'd expect they would have figured it out after the first 387 times, but nooooo.

To be honest, most times humans aren't saying anything worth crap, so why make the effort to answer? (Except for the Jack Russells. They never shut up. Always runnin' their yaps! And it's always "Look at me, me me. I'm great. I’m cute. Gimme a treat. I can bounce higher than a ball. Where's the ball. Throw the ball. See me eat the ball.")

Let's get real, here. How many answers are there for "Are you my good doggie?" "Yes," "no," and "if you think I’m telling you about the mess in the corner, you're nuts."

"German researchers have found a border collie named Rico who understands more than 200 words and can learn new ones as quickly as many children."

Border Collie, eh? Figures. They're such suck ups. In obedience class they were always the ones with their paws in the air saying "Pick me, pick me…" Always wanting constant approval--pathetic. I am a champion. I know I am a champion. I don't need someone always telling me I'm a champion since it's obvious I am a champion. Got it?

"Patti Strand, an American Kennel Club board member, called the report "good news for those of us who talk to our dogs."

"Like parents of toddlers, we learned long ago the importance of spelling key words like bath, pill or vet when speaking in front of our dogs," Strand said."

Yeah, AHM used to do that until she figured out we could spell too. Damn kids let the cat out of the bag just before a walk. (So far they haven't figured out we can tell time, though. Okay, AHM has a suspicion--kids again.)

"Thanks to the researchers who've proven that people who talk to their dogs are cutting-edge communicators, not just a bunch of eccentrics."…

I'm not too sure about that "cutting-edge" business. Most humans never get beyond "cute doggie" or "get the ball." (And what's with that? Hell, you threw the damn thing--you get it!) It's not like we have political debates. Oh, AHM occasionally lets us know who's who but it's not like we can vote or anything. We should, of course. We could nose out the behind-the-scenes shit on any candidate. Mostly we just listen.

"…Paul Bloom of Yale University urges caution. "Children can understand words used in a range of contexts. Rico's understanding is manifested in his fetching behavior," Bloom writes in a commentary, also in Science.

"Bloom calls for further experiments to answer several questions: Can Rico learn a word for something other than a small object to be fetched? Can he display knowledge of a word in some way other than fetching? Can he follow an instruction not to fetch something?"

Rico's got a good thing going. Why bother with the hard stuff when all you have to do is prance around with your toys?

Of course we can do more than fetch--if the right person asks, that is. We don't do things for just anyone, ya' know.

Okay, here's an example. My second-oldest son got sick and started losing his eyesight. Still could do a lot of stuff, except he had some trouble when AHM would take us out to the fields to run. So AHM would pick out one of the other kids and tell them "So-and-so, go take care of your brother." Pissed them off no end to be stuck with the slow kid and they'd mutter all sorts of nasty things. Still, AHM never had to say it more than twice before they went. (And I gotta' admit I was proud of them for stickin' together that way.)

So, yeah--we can definitely follow instructions for something other than fetching. But that's what humans seem to like best, so we just go with the flow. Now where's my liver treat?



posted by Harrison at 4:42 PM


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