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Go tell mamma! How dogs can learn to ‘talk’

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Mamma has been trying to teach us many things since she adopted us, but we still have a lot to learn! She hung a bell near the back door for us to ring if we need to go out but only Darla has learned to do this. I am still trying.

Nonna suggested mamma teach us words so we can communicate with everyone. She told us dogs can learn, according to scientists, up to 165 words and that we can understand the tone of a human voice. On average they can learn and respond to about 89 words or phrases. We are not so sure about this!

A speech-language pathologist in California has discovered a way to train her dog to actually speak to her using speech buttons. The buttons are pre-programmed with words that her dog can choose from to communicate wants, needs, and thoughts. She even wrote a book called “How Stella Learned to Talk.” I think nonna wants to buy some of these buzzers!

Then there is a border collie named Rico who was tested by scientists to prove he understood almost 200 words! After Rico brought his human 10 items on command, the researcher set 10 new items in separate rooms and once identified he was given the command to bring them back. He did so correctly 70 percent of the time. 

We both know our names and we know when we are in trouble by the way mamma or papà say them. We also know siediti (see-ed-it-tee) sit down, rimani qui (ree-mahn-nee kwi) stay here and fermati (fair-ma-tee) stop. 

We understand È ora di mangiare (a or-ah d man-jar-a) it’s time to eat, vuoi un dolcetto? (voy oon dol-chet-o) do you want a treat and vuoi andare fuori (voy an-dar-a foo-or-ee) do you want to go outdoors? We really become excited when they ask us vuoi prendere un gelato (voy pren-dare-a oon gel-ah-toe) do you want to get an ice cream? Then we know it’s time to jump into the car and take a ride to town.

We also understand other commands like vieni (vee-en-ee) come, bravo ragazzo (bra-vo ra-gaz-o) good boy, and brava ragazza good girl, scendi (shen-dee) get down, aspetta (ah spet-ah) wait and lascialo (lah-sha-lo) leave it. Since we have already learned many words and phrases maybe we could learn more!

Most dogs understand guarda (gwar-da) look, dammi la tua zampa (da-me la two-a zam-pa) give me your paw, vai a letto (vie a let-to) go to bed, go get it, rub your belly, catch, toy, bark, quiet, dove si trova (do-vay see tro-va) where is it, do you have to potty and let’s go for a walk. Most importantly we know Ti voglio bene (tee vol-e-o ben-a) I
love you!

Our least favorite word is no. Thankfully we don’t hear that too often! 

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