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Old 12-07-2012, 02:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Understanding words to different objects

Lexi really gets confused with ball, bone and kong.
Often I hide those objects in the house and get her to look for them...but this is how it goes.

Me: Lexi, where's your bone? Go find it!
*Lexi comes back with her kong*
Me: Nooo, where's your BONNNNNNE? Go get the bonnnne!
*Lexi comes back with the ball*
Me: Nooo, I want the boNe Lexi, go find the boNe!
*Lexi comes back with her kong*



So, I'm curious...why is this so confusing to her? I pronounce the words very clearly as I thought at first I was slurring the words and they could have sounded the same to her?

If I were to ask for the kong she understands it. She understands what a stick is as well.

Has anyone done this before? Should I rename the bone to something else?
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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i would try a different word.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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She probably doesn't know their names, but does understand that you want her to bring you *something*.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, I think some dogs just don't "get" the whole toy identification thing. My Rott knew ALL of his toys by name (an impressive list, not that I *cough* spoiled him or anything). I could ask him about a toy by name and then tell him to "go get it" and he would tear the house apart if need be and return proudly with that toy. Once got dumped on my rear when I asked him to get kong and didn't realize he had left it under my couch...

My Ruger (Dobe) only ever learned 3 of his toys, and other than his absolute favorite "froggie"- he was spotty with 2 of the 3 and often had to have multiple attempts.

The current pup is trying to make connections- but is very spotty, so not sure whether he will ever really "get" it or not.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It sounds like she doesn't know their names and is guessing what you want.

Rather than repeating the word to her, I'd work on her understanding of the object names. Otherwise she's feeling pressured to be right without understanding you and it's probably stressful for her to be wrong an unknown number of times before magically being right from her perspective.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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She makes guesses between the ball and bone for sure.

But even if I say something like "Look! here's the bone!" and give it a nudge with my foot, she will ignore it and grab something else.

How can I help her understand the object names?
She loves searching the house and it's an easy game that I can play with her inside while my butt takes a rest.
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_L View Post
She makes guesses between the ball and bone for sure.

But even if I say something like "Look! here's the bone!" and give it a nudge with my foot, she will ignore it and grab something else.

How can I help her understand the object names?
She loves searching the house and it's an easy game that I can play with her inside while my butt takes a rest.
When Mabel is really excited she'll do the same thing. Even with her toys she for sure knows the name of like her wubba.

If she consistently is having a problem I'd rename it. I try and give all her toys short unique easy to hear words. Her cuz bear is her bear, wubba is wubba, she knows bone, rope, ball, we named her tuffy octopus Gary lol and etc... If she seems to have trouble finding the one I want then I change the name and that usually fixes it.
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You could rename it.

OR

You could keep drilling it with games.

I'd have the three objects in front of me, a foot or two away, and then start with the ones that build her confidence. You mentioned that she knows Kong. So I'd say, "Lexi, get me the Kong!" And then if she'd pick up the Kong I'd have a "WOOT WOOT" party and dancing moment. Treats and pets all around! Then I'd mix it up a bit. And when she got it right there would be treats and pets and throw the ball to get it.

When we wanted to teach Murphy to get the ball for us (lazy days). We'd get it once, and play fetch with it. But instead of saying "fetch!" or "go get it!" I'd say "go get the ball!" Now, if I'm lazy and just want to play fetch I say "Murphy go get the ball!" and he'll run as fast as he can until he finds it.

It's harder to do with bone. Bone isn't interactive. Maybe "Lexi go get the bone!" She gets the bone and you tease her and "om nom nom" on it until she steals it from you. Or when she is playing with it you could go "Lexi, I'ma get your bone! Who's got a nommie bone? Huh?" I'm a nerd with my dog, I know this already...

We also use names a lot. Murphy knew what Mr. Raccoon was and Mr. Owl (they're all males I guess). We'd play and I guess I never realized it but I use the name a lot when we play.

Food for thought? A base to go off of? I don't know.

Last edited by AlyssaN; 12-07-2012 at 03:07 PM..
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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If I wanted to specifically train object names, I'd probably sit down with one toy at a time and a clicker (and some treats, of course).

In my case, my dogs have learned the names of objects through general interaction with them over time. I use the object name during play to reinforce their understanding of the object. Things like, "Let's play ball", "Get your ball", "Where'd your ball go?" all while we're using that specific toy rather than having a buffet of toys that could confuse them. After a while the dog picks up on it that "ball" is that one specific object. Also, those phrases I say to my dogs while we play are common phrases for them to hear. So they also easily understand what each phrase means and can begin to disregard the phrase to an extent (they're no longer putting in a lot of mental effort to decode "Let's play...", "Get your..." and "Where'd your....go?") instead they can focus on the word that's changing - the object name.
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Last edited by brw1982; 12-07-2012 at 03:51 PM..
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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That describes Titan to a T!
Me: Titan, get your ball!
Titan: Stick?
Me: No Titan, your BALL!
Titan: Frisbee!

Sadly I can't spend every day training Titan, since I don't live with him, and his owner (my bio sister) calls all of his toys "toy", so usually when he hears "get your..." it's followed by "toy" and he's rewarded with play no matter what toy he brings back. Then you have me once every week or so trying to get him to learn what each toy is what name and he gets very confused. But he still tries, poor boy.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:17 PM   #11 (permalink)
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What about if you just say, "Where's your toy?" Saph always responds to that. She finds the most convenient toy and we play with that. Sometimes i will call it a cuz or a ball, if that is what we are playing with, but "Toy" is a generic term to her that just means go get something you play with lol.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:08 PM   #12 (permalink)
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It's also possible that the open "o" sound in both "bone" and "Kong" sound very similar to her. If you rename one or the other, it might clear things up for her. Or she just needs more fun practice ^^

Elka will bring me her Kong, her Monster, Gumby, and a ball. I taught the names through shaping, I guess. I'd say "What a good girl, you brought me your ____!" and variances on that theme.
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