“Where’s kitty?” and other phrases
We have some very smart hounds - just sayin'.
Samson and Delilah have grown up with Laura spending way too much time talking and singing to them. Whether as a direct result of this or not, they have built up an impressive understanding of English, even if some of it is somewhat customised to suit them. Here's a selection of words and phrases that get a predictable response from them.
- Where's kitty? - This phrase will have them jump to attention and either run to the back yard or jump up to the window that overlooks our front yard. This isn't some random act though, as there are at least four neighbourhood cats that like to sun themselves outside the front window, much to the irritation of Samson and Delilah.
- Is xxx coming home? - We'll use this if we know someone is getting home soon, whether that's me from work or Mike from school. Again, they'll charge to the window, but this is much more of a positive anticipation than the 'where's kitty' prompt.
- What time is it? - We reserve this question for walks, where the answer is invariably 'snack time'. It will get Sam, Sonny and Dee over to have a small bit of duck, before once again wondering off to go sniff around.
- Do you want... - This is really most often used for Samson, especially when he's acting bored or wanting something. We can add a number of options to the statement, such as 'water' (to refresh the waterbowl), 'dinner' (for any 10 minutes before or after breakfast or dinner) or 'walkies' when it's time to take them out. Sam is smart enough to respond differently depending on which of these he wants, often looking away if we've guessed incorrectly and wagging his tail when we've guessed correctly.
- Is that a friend? - On walks, we will say this when we see other dogs approaching, and we'll use a very positive tone too. This helps them anticipate the encounter and makes it a fun thing.
- Time to go out - At night before bed, this phrase will have Samson and Delilah running to the door to relieve themselves before settling down for the night. For Sonny it's a bit of a trigger phrase at the moment, and will often get him barking and stalking me as he reluctantly goes out himself.
- What's that? - This is a generic prompt to get them interested in something happening, and will often get Delilah wimpering and Samson doing his cough-bark.
- We're going to hop in - This means that we're taking them in the car, rather than just walking from our house for example.
- Don't worry - We'll use this phrase to defuse situations where they may be anxious or after an incident. It often gets their tails wagging.
- What can you do? - This question is often the prelude to a snack, and each hound is expected to do their trick. For Samson this means doing a circle, for Delilah she sits meerkat style and Sonny offers paws.
- Where's Dotty? - This one is very much for Samson, who loves 'Dotty', the light from a laser pointer. Saying the word will get him wagging his tail and looking around until he finds it. It is THE most fun that Samson can have! We do need to ration it though, as it can be somewhat habit forming.
In addition to these phrases, they also respond well to the usual words - treat, snack, dinner time, off, yes, no, down, etc.
We are very happy to have hounds that engage with us and with whom we can share our world.