Howdy blogaroos. Squirmy here. In our home bound but still active household. The humans are staying close to home which results in more walks for us canines every day! Gotta like that!
So today I wasn’t sure what to write about, but Frodo gave me an idea. He’s a chatty guy – and he always has an opinion and something to say. Always. Like I mean ALL the time. He shouts out orders and it’s pretty clear what he wants. At meal time, he repeatedly tells My Enforcer to speed things up. Every meal. Every day. He also barks and shouts at me if I’m bugging him too much. And his message is loud and clear.
So he thinks it’s pretty funny that people have started experimenting with these talking board things, where a dog pushes buttons to say words aloud in order to form basic sentences. I think we may have even written a blog about it before. Frodo sees no point in it. Why take the time to press words when his point is already well made?
My Enforcer is a bit skeptical about it and it appears that there are others who also question our canine ability to use language with these devices. It’s pretty clear that we canines DO communicate in a variety of ways – for example with the use of different kinds of barks. I mean I have a very different “come on Coyote let’s play” bark than my “it’s a delivery guy and I must protect our home at all costs” bark. And we DO understand many words. The dog who was a master at that was Chaser, a border collie who knew like a thousand words. But do we want to put words into sentences to communicate? My Enforcer says she is doubtful. We dogs can be trained to do lots of things – and we can certainly learn patterns – but whether we have the intent to use the words in the same way as humans is the big question.
This article examines the “sentence talking dog” idea. It has links to some videos of Bunny, a sheepdog cross who reportedly uses her device to communicate needs and wants…
So the jury is out on whether we communicate in sentences like humans. YES – we absolutely communicate. But in grammatical sentences? Not so sure.
After watching the videos we got to thinking. We know how stubborn…er…determined we PONs can be. So can you imagine what it would be like if we were using one of these devices AND we did use language in the same way as humans? It would probably sound like this: “I want out. Now. Throw the ball. Now. Isn’t it time for supper? Now. The treat jar is getting low. Get away from me with that brush. Time for another walk. Now. I hear birds. Time to get up. Now. Somebody stole the bread off the counter. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t me…”
On the flip side, we have the Coyote, whose comments would be more like this: “Sit? What’s that? Hey – a bird. Hey- a bunny. Hey – a leaf. Can I hug you? Put the camera away. Treat? Nah I’m good.”
What a nightmare it could be if we did have one of those things. My Enforcer said we are NOT getting one. To begin with, it’s highly likely that we (or at least yours truly) would try to rip the buttons right off the board anyway.
So those are my thoughts for the day. If anyone is using one of those things, let us know. And we’re curious about what you think. One very good thing about the device would be how it does stimulate our minds – and does involve lots of work with our humans. And really, that alone may be reason enough to use one. Mind you, I think I would rather play fetch….
Have a good one. Peace and paws up. Stay safe.