24 November 2008

Molly's Vocabulary

I keep finding myself thinking in awe at the number of words Molly knows. It really does seem like I can sometimes just talk to her and she understands what I'm saying.

for example, DH gave Molly a rawhide chew last night right before bedtime. I wanted to see what she got, so I called out and asked her to show it to me. She ran into the bedroom to the foot of the bed. When I praised her bone, she ran back out to the kitchen. It was like she understood what was going on.

Later she tried to bring it in to the bedroom. We just called "ud i køkkenet med den" (out in the kitchen with it) and she took it back to the kitchen. Shortly after, she came back to bed without the bone. She got to keep it all night, but didn't bring it to bed.

The kitchen isn't the only room Molly knows. We can send her to the living room, bathroom, and bedroom as well by name. These are in Danish.

Molly is also able to interact with a number of people by name. She knows me and DH as "mor" and "far" (Danish for Mom and Dad). She knows DH's parents by name. Even though we weren't in the US very long, she knows who Grandmom and Granddad are and she learned to ID my aunt and uncle by name in one evening! It isn't just context clues either, because she can deliver items and toys to the right people and find them when they aren't in the same room.

We have no doubt that she knows what a bath is in both languages. If we just mention that she might need one, she is not very happy about being near people. We don't talk about a vet enough to know if that is an issue, but we do think she likes the ones we use.

Molly can differentiate types of trips. If we say "Vil du med?" (Want to come with?), she knows it could be any sort of outing. If we say "Med ud at køre?" (Come with for a drive?), she heads for the cars. We can also tell her which one with "Mors bil" and "Fars bil" (Mom's car and Dad's car). She even knows that "med ud til hestene" means come along out to the horses.

Then we have her item recognition. Molly can select the correct one of her toys by name. She currently has "pindsvin" (hedgehog), Bunny, bold ("ball") but we can't tel lher a particular ball, "tyggeben" for any kind of chew, and "fodbold" for her football. She also knows a number of other items used for her work and training: sock, pants,crutches, phone, "tæppe" (blanket). She can also ID the TV when we say "fjernsyn" but we didn't teach her that one on purpose (she likes to watch TV).

When working, training,and playing, we can use a number of words to help her navigate to find what we need. Sofa, "stol" (chair), radiator, "bord" (table), "seng" (bed). Of course we have the rooms to identify locations as well. For outside, she knows "hegnet" to be her fence and heads there when we say it. I can also send her home from any location with home or "hjem" (another bilingual command). I just need to teach her that one in German sometime in case she gets out somewher and runs into German tourists. Molly also knows to get into the car when we say "ind i bilen."

To start and end situations is also easy with Molly. She knows when I say "vil du træne" or "skal vi træne" that I am asking her if she wants to train. I can tell from her enthusiasm and the fact that she drops her toys that she understands. If I need her to do some work for me, I just say "hjælp mor" (help Mom) and she's at the ready. "Skal vi lege?" means it is time to start a play session and she finds a toy. When I want to end a training session or a commanded behavior, I just say "fri" (free). To stop her from bring us toys, barking, etc., we use "det er nok" (literally "that is enough" but used like "that'll do"). Speaking of toys, she also knows that "nej tak" means that I don't want whatever she is bringing me right now. "Tak" is Thank you, which for Molly means that I'd be happy to have whatever you are bringing. It is a polite way of accepting her play. If we want her to let go of something, we use the "slip" command.

Then we have all her commands. Sit, "dæk" (down), down, come, "kom", take, give, pull, push, laundry, watch, "skridt" (walk), leave it, mat, touch... I'm sure there are more that I'm not thinking of at the moment.

Mat, BTW, is a word that she knows both as a command and an item. If I say "take mat" she retrieves her mat for me. If I just say, "Molly, mat!" she goes to her mat or a similar object and lies down until I tell her she is free to go or give another command.

So how's that for the vocab of a 2 year old BC?


Anonymous said...


What a super super super dog Molly is.

Her vocabulary is amazing.

Wish Ziggi was as intuned as that!


Dina ... UK said...

Way to go Molly!
Bilingual, Bexie do you speak Danish fluently?
Thanks for the congrat's
are you ready with your blue for tomorrow? I am lol

Rebecca and Molly the Border Collie said...

Thank you.

Dina, yes, I speak Danish pretty much fluently but with an accent. They say I talk like I have potatoes in my mouth.