@scagnetti said in An Ancient Breed Indeed:
not because the dog understands what's being said but because they have learned to associated that noise with an object/idea/action.
Ever here of Charles Eisenmann? I saw him, back in the day, and I have no doubt his dogs understood language, both from him and from others (on occasion he let a reporter remain in a closed room with his dog, and had the reporter request whatever he wanted the dog to do, and it complied). I played around with his methods and discovered that my dog did indeed listen to my words and pick out the relevant meaning. I didn't go so far as Chuck, but enough to demonstrate to me that the dog could find meaning in a conversational request.
From an article on Eisenmann " One skeptical reporter said to Eisenmann something like "That's cool, but what if I told the dog to open the door? Would he do it then?" Eisenmann answered the reporter's question by turning to the dog and simply saying, "You heard him." The dog immediately trotted over to the door and opened it again with its mouth.
In a small adjacent room the teletype machine was clattering away and - as it usually did - making a lot of noise in the process. At one point Eisenmann told one of his dogs - and I quote him here pretty much the way he said it - "The teletype machine is making too much noise. Do something to remedy that." Whereupon the dog walked over and shut the door to the teletype room.
The wife of one of the reporters was present for the demonstration, and was very pregnant, sitting in a chair. Eisenmann said to one of the dogs: "Somebody in this room is having a baby soon, can you go say hi to them?" Again the dog moved immediately to the expectant mother and acknowledged her by setting his paws up on her lap."
That was typical of Eisenmann's dogs, so either he was telepathic or the dogs understood his words. Reporters were never able to observe any visual aids.