Thursday, 3 March 2016

How to teach your pet to *actually* talk..."

"Don't make eye contact, she's trying
to teach us to talk again..."
I really should stop trying to teach my pets to talk… but I just can't help myself...

And when I say ‘talk’, I don’t mean bark on command, etc - oh no, I mean TALK!

It’s not something I’m deliberately setting out to do (I’m not totally mad… well, not totally and completely), it’s more something that I just occasionally catch myself doing. Take this morning for example: I reached for a banana from the fruit bowl and Bella Cat watched with interest and made a little peeping sound. So I looked at her and said, “Banana”. I was showing her a banana and repeating the word IN THE HOPE THAT SHE MIGHT REPEAT IT. Yes, well… It’s the same system I used for my daughter when she was a baby, and she picked up the whole talking thing very quickly!

I was once out walking Freddy Dog when he paused to look at a bird sitting on a fence. “Look Freddy”, I said, “BIRD”. He looked up at me, we caught each other’s eye, and I thought: oh blimey, I’m trying to teach my dog to say the word ‘bird’.

Last week Fred presented me with his empty food bowl  by dragging it upstairs and dropping it on my feet (he’s not subtle). I picked it up, showed it to him, and said, “Bowl”. Just yesterday we had some snow and I pointed out of the window and said, “Snow”. I’m thinking maybe I’m favouring teaching the dog over the cat, but that’s really only because he seems to show more willing. Bella just looks on with a slightly wilful expression (I think she’ll be a slow learner - might even turn out to be dyslexic…)

My pets are both (of course) highly intelligent. But I don’t genuinely think they’ll ever learn to talk (though it won’t be from lack of parental teaching and guidance I assure you). Yesterday I saw a dog on Facebook writing his own name with a paint brush. Yeah, but can he talk?

I think if (or when) the day ever comes that Bella says the word ‘Banana’ or Freddy mentions that his bowl is empty rather than shows me, will probably be a surprising but well-earned one. I might be tempted to rename Freddy ‘Gaspode’ in honour of the dog from the Terry Pratchett books (who, if you don’t know, is a dog who thinks like a human and says the word ‘woof’ rather than barking).

Look, Freddy: Blog. Can you say ‘Blog’? What about, ‘Pho-to-Fair-y-tales’? Good boy!

Surely I'm not the only person in the world who does this? Am I??

Love from the nuthouse,
Sarah x

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