Do you think Dogs only understand English?

Puppies - My 3 months old puppies.
@zandi458 (27952)
Malaysia
October 2, 2009 2:56am CST
My puppies are now 3 months old and I have started to give them their first doggy behavioral lessons (kinder-dog class). The first lesson I taught them was to sit down by using my own local language but they don't seem to understand and keep jumping up and down. When I switched to the word 'SIT' that makes them stop the monkeying behavior and quietly took their sitting position, staring at me as though waiting for the next instruction. I would reward them with puppies biscuits after each successful action. I am wondering whether dogs only understand English or is it because these puppies (terrier) originated from breeds imported from Australia that they have strong memory of the place they come from and the language used. Do you use any other languages when you give orders or instructions to your pets? Can they understand you well?
11 people like this
45 responses
@jdyrj777 (6556)
• United States
3 Oct 09
Lol!!! Sounds like fun there. Puppies!!! I dont envy you. I have heard before that its not so much the word but alot has to do with your tone of voice. I believe they will learn what ever language you teach them in. Also sometimes it seems that puppies are not listening while they are. It may help to separate the one being taught for solo lessons. The siblings will not be taking the attention away. Id just be teaching them the basics and leaving all that training to the future owners.
2 people like this
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
8 Oct 09
Puppies are overly playful and it is not easy to teach them in group. I agree with you the tones of our voice has more influence than the language used.
@jdyrj777 (6556)
• United States
8 Oct 09
Yes, and cats are that way too. Animals are so smart. They can get really in tuned with a owner. Seems like sometimes the puppy playfulness can go well beyond the first year too.
1 person likes this
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
2 Oct 09
the only one our new puppy knows is NO! adn I dont try any other language as I dont know any other language. But I have heard that some do respond to German dont know why!
2 people like this
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
3 Oct 09
Good, a one word NO is enough to send the message to dogs to tell them you don't like certain action they do.
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
3 Oct 09
only thing she has learned since we got her she still dont respond to the name we gave her.
@ANTIQUELADY (36488)
• United States
2 Oct 09
Since i speak only one language i'd be up the creek if my dog didn't understand what i was saying, lol. I can't seriously answer your question but would think whatever language u used consistently w/them they would understand.
2 people like this
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
2 Oct 09
But looks like my dog is more accommodating to the English language. They understand better with this language.
1 person likes this
@ANTIQUELADY (36488)
• United States
2 Oct 09
I find that very strange & have never heard anyone comment on something like this before. U always come up w/interesting discussions & as i have told u many times i always enjoy them.
1 person likes this
@sallysue (326)
• Canada
3 Oct 09
Hi: I've had dogs for a very long time. I'm sure they would understand the language that there use to hearing at home. Whatever you speak I'm sure they would understand that language. Maybe, you were more forceful when you said SIT in English. I adopted a two year old dog from a pound once and he understood sign language. I presumed that must have been the way he was raised.
2 people like this
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
8 Oct 09
Yes, I emphasized on the word 'SIT' and hand out dog biscuits when they obey my commands. Dogs are intelligent animals as I noticed from my puppies. The actions of their eyes and head when called by their names indicate that they do understand what I am saying. But I normally give out my commands in English as it is simpler compared to my language.
@phayeth (519)
• Philippines
2 Oct 09
well,my dog can understand both english and the native language that we use here in my country..
2 people like this
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
2 Oct 09
Your dog is bi-lingual.
@kawalnarang (1095)
• Trinidad And Tobago
2 Oct 09
It's possible that some dogs do not understand another language,my Belgium shepard(female),understands English,, plus a few words in Hindi,, I feel it's what she got accustomed to,,
2 people like this
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
2 Oct 09
Hindi, good to learn this language and for a dog to understand this language must be an intelligent dog.
• United States
2 Oct 09
My first suggestion would be if you want your puppies to learn to sit and other commands in your language than stop using the commands in english. As many others say dogs learn by repetition. So just be persistent in the language you would like to use with them. I speak english but when I went thru training classes with my dog my trainer highly believed in using german commands with all the dogs she trained. So my dog knows all his commands in german but I speak to him all the time in english, but when I want him to do something specific I speak in german and he responds instantly
2 people like this
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
2 Oct 09
That may explain why we have German Shaperd breed as they might have originated from the German school of Dogs. They are good in dogs training. My language is too long and complicated for training dogs.
@home415 (118)
• United States
2 Oct 09
They will understand they are just puppies wanting to move around. Also is the mom has been trained in english that could be the problem as well. Since the mom was taught in english she will try to teach it to her pups. Most people think of dogs talking one langue. This is not true because humans teach these dogs in different langue they make a new langue so they can talk to other dogs that have been taught that way.
2 people like this
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
2 Oct 09
Dogs language is only barking. We give them training to be obedient to us. When we use one language we have to stick to the same language when we give our commands.
@manong05 (5029)
• Philippines
2 Oct 09
Between using english and other languages, English monosyllabic words are easier to say like sit and can easily catch the dog's attention. I think most commands are monosyllabic, like fetch, kill, run, roll, jump If I translate this to my language it will be a lot longer which the dog might find confusing LOL Plus, maybe training of dogs were popularized in the west and commands that most people know are in english. I don't know, maybe I have to do a research on that. cheers.
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
2 Oct 09
You have said it all and I have nothing much to add. Westerners are animal lovers more than the Asians. Their dogs are well trained so that is where the ideas of training dogs in English makes it more popular.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
2 Oct 09
Yeah, I observe the same thing with my pets whether it is a dog or a cat. I often call them repetitive by their names before they recall that it is their names and I am calling them. The dog is fast to absorb instructions while the cat is hard headed. When, I teach my dog to teach him basic command in my own languages they had a hard time recalling it as the equivalent of English word when translated in my own languages is long while in English it is short. Definitely, dogs learn fast if English is the medium of instruction uses.
2 people like this
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
2 Oct 09
My language is also long and it seems to complicate the dog when I give my command in my mother's tongue. The english language is sweet and short and can be easily understood by my pets.
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
2 Oct 09
Hi Zandi, I know nothing about dogs but it would seem to be patently obvious that all French, Spanish,Greek, and Italian dogs must be terribly badly behaved if dogs only understand English. So your theory is probably true looking at the behaviour of Greek dogs.
2 people like this
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
2 Oct 09
Dogs need good training to behave well. It looks like the Greek dogs need an Englishman to train them.
1 person likes this
• Canada
2 Oct 09
My husband successfully taught his ex-wife's dog to obey commands in Russian, and friends of ours taught their dogs to obey in Danish, so it's not just English. Maybe it's the force or the sound of certain words, or the way they're spoken. When you say "sit" in your native language, do you use the exact same tone as when you say it in English? My husband and our danish friends do, so this may well be why they understand Russian and Danish.
2 people like this
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
2 Oct 09
That is great to have dogs that can understand other languages. I guess it is the tune of my native language which is quite complicated compared to a simple english word 'sit'.
1 person likes this
@suzzy3 (8357)
3 Oct 09
They understand who ever is looking after them if they are taken to a different country or different owner it must be so confusing as they must struggle with the language like we would.Most dogs let you know if they are hungry of need a wee.So really doggy language is the same the world over,besides dogs use actions like sniffing at the back door,or are very good at sniffing out their food bowl.
2 people like this
@dpk262006 (56480)
• Delhi, India
2 Oct 09
Hi Zandi! I do not have any puppy right now, however, your discussion and your experiences sound interesting. May be your Puppy's parents were of English origin and his/her forefather too would understand English only, so their jeans have transferred in your puppy...........LOL! All the best.
1 person likes this
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
8 Oct 09
Well, my puppies are Australian terriers and that may explain why they understand commands in english better than my native tongue.
@dpk262006 (56480)
• Delhi, India
9 Oct 09
Hi Australian and Englishmen are connected and Austarlians also speak very good English, therefore your puppies are better in taking commends in English.HI!
@fifileigh (3619)
• United States
3 Oct 09
cute puppies. my pets all understand me well. i only speak english with them. i think pets understand whatever language they grew up with and were raised with in the household. my neighbor's german shepard only understands german. he went to dog school in german, and all his commands are in german. i think your puppies are just babies and want attention. they just want the treats. they are growing puppies. they are still very young. they just want to play. maybe let them play now and start training at 1 year old when they are a little more mature and ready.
1 person likes this
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
29 Dec 09
Even at a young age my puppies seems to be catching fast with my instruction but haven't tried any other language besides English.
@alottodo (3061)
• Australia
3 Oct 09
Hi Zandi, I think dogs understand the language of their owners mostly but I also think they do understand by your actitude when addresing them, in your instance maybe you use the word SIT with more force than in your own language it could be so I don't know I speak spanish and english to my pets and they seem to understand both.
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
29 Dec 09
I would have to teach my dog mandarin too as it is one of the spoken language at home.
@mipen2006 (5528)
• Australia
3 Oct 09
My dogs ubderstood commands in both Thai and English, and they were easy to teach.
1 person likes this
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
29 Dec 09
wow...Thai thats interesting..bilingual.
@richiem (3646)
• Philippines
3 Oct 09
I think it would not depend on the language on whether they learn well or not. It would depend on you, the trainer. But you are on the right track of giving them cookies when they obey your commands. Dogs are usually trained through positive reinforcements like that. You have to be really patient when training them.
1 person likes this
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
29 Dec 09
well, yes, my dogs taught me to be patient. It takes repetitive command before they can understand in the early part of training.
• Philippines
3 Oct 09
Hahaha that's funny Zandi, You know i like tell a story from my auntie from abroad. she told me this when she was gardening their house. then, a feral cat came was in their garden. then she tried to shoee them but won't away, but when she said "get out" that's the q for te cat to leave, we laugh about it knowing cats can too understand something.
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
29 Dec 09
Thats funny right...animals like humans possess different characters. Of my 4 dogs, the b&tch understand English well while one pup is so dumb and would only stare at me no matter how much I train her but the two are super intelligent. They wanted to be treated like human and would not sleep on the floor without mattress.
• United States
3 Oct 09
Dogs do not know English or any other human language; just as humans do not know what dog bark. Dogs, however, do understand human emotion and physical action. All beings are on this earth together and I believe that we all have a chemical and electrical connection to one another. Dogs know that when you scream at the dog for peeing on the carpet that they are in trouble -- its not because they know english or spanish.
1 person likes this
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
29 Dec 09
I believe they do understand when we talk to them. As I experienced with my dogs. For that matter any languages which they hear often.