Teaching Your Dog Commands
Researchers at Wofford College have been working with this border collie, Chaser, for a while. As of early this year, it was reported that Chaser knows the names of 1,022 objects, with no upper limit to his extensive vocabulary in sight.
Says Wofford researcher Alliston Reid: “This research is important because it demonstrates that dogs, like children, can develop extensive vocabularies and understand that certain words represent individual objects and other words represent categories of objects, independent in meaning of what one is asked to do with those objects.”
The Family Education Network provides very good, detailed instructions on one way you can teach your dog new words. In a nutshell, you begin by teaching your dog to touch your hand. When she does this, you provide a small food reward. Next, provide an object, such as a favorite ball. Ask your dog to touch the ball. If your dog touches your hand, do not offer the food reward. Only do so when it gets the “ball” connection. After some practice with this, you can test your dog by presenting multiple objects, such as ropes and other toys, to see if it really gets that “rope” refers to the rope, “ball” refers to the ball and so on.