I read post on 24 Paws of Love recently that I thought was kind of interesting. In the article, the writer talked about several of the words, phrases, and signals she has inadvertantly taught her dogs. Before now, I’d never really thought about some of the words Shiva has learned just through repetition. There are the standard cues, obviously, the ones you teach on purpose, but there are also many phrases dogs just pick up after hearing them over and over again in very specific contexts. I thought it might be kind of fun to share some of ours as well.
“Chill” – (can also be “chill out” or “chhiiiiilllllll”) Meaning: You are way too excited over nothing, please calm down before I do something I regret.
True to our 90’s selves, we have used this word from the very start, normally just out of exasperation. After all of these years, Shiva seems to get what we’re saying and ceases her whining and jumping around. Albeit, only temporarily. I should probably start reinforcing this more.
“All the way” – (can also be, “really, Sheeves, really?) Meaning: All the way down, no halvsies.
Shiva is such a cheater sometimes, especially when we tell her to lay down. It’s her least favourite position. She will often try to fool us by only crouching or ducking her head. When I say “all the way” she will often suck it up and put her stomach on the floor. This isn’t really a cue I am proud of as “down” should just mean down. It’s one of the many ways she has shaped me better than I have shaped her.
“Keep going” – Meaning: Yep, you are on the right track.
I was surprised when Shiva proved she knew what this meant. We use this a lot when working on tricks like leg weaves or backing up. It helps encourage her movement, let’s her know she is offering the right thing. When I say it Shiva’s eyes will light up and she’ll leap into warp drive.
“Ahem” – Meaning: Hello? I’m waiting!
When we are out on a walk, or even in agility class, and Shiva loses focus, I will stop to wait for her to come back to my side. Once she feels any tension on the leash she is usually pretty good at remembering herself and jumps back to sit beside me. We have worked on this a lot. But, because she is a cheater (see above), she will sometimes only come halfway back before sitting down. “Ahem” is a reminder of the position she needs to be in before we can move on.
“Out of the garbage!” – (can also be “you are in big trouble, missy!”) Meaning: Get out of the garbage.
Okay, so we kind of trained this one on purpose. Sometimes I feel a little bad about it because she usually will dive towards her crate to give herself a time-out. Not that it stops her from going back to the bin the next chance she gets. We need to invest in something with a lock.
Do you have any silly phrases your dogs have picked up on over the years?