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My three Labs understand language indicating concepts of time: I can say, We're going to go for a ride in the car, IN A WHILE, or LATER, and they get excited about "go for a ride in the car" but as soon as they hear "later" they go back and lie down. I really think this has to do with talking to them all the time about such things. Anybody else have such experiences? annie
 

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I know it's against most training methods, but I always tell my dogs when I'm leaving the house. Since they were babies, if I was leaving without them, I'd tell them I was going to the store. They understand that to mean that they're not going with me, so they give up on the excitement and go lay down.

When I'm playing Frisbee with Jaia, and I'm done, I tell him, "This is the last time". That means this is the last time I'm throwing the Frisbee for this session. After he catches it, he doesn't bring it back because he understands the concept of it being the last time.

I have a LOT of these phrases I use with the dogs to relay what's going on with me or what my plans are and they fully understand the concepts. I talk to them in normal English all the time. So, I think I know exactly what you mean. :)

I have also spent a lot of time studing their "language" and I think I really understand a lot about what they're "saying" too.
 

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I don't think it's so much their understanding of concepts as it is their association of one event with another. For example, sometimes I'll be playing "go find" with my dogs where I hide treats around the room and have them sniff out the food. When they've found all but one and are looking ready to stop, I'll say "one more" and they're back to searching again. After that last one has been found, I say "good dogs!" and kneel down for cuddles and scratches, thus ending the game.

I don't think they so much know the meaning of "one" and "more" as it is that they've learned the sequence of events. They don't understand quantities, but they understand that once I utter that sound, and the last treat is discovered, the game is always over.
 

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I don't think they understand the meanings of "one" and "more", either. We could use any words we want as long as we were consistent. But they DO understand the concept of there being one more treat to find. And then that's all. Not two more, not some more, but just one more.
 

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I've always tried to get my dogs to understand three main concepts.

That a word can mean an object/thing, that a word can mean a place/area, and that a word can mean an action.

Seems they need to learn several of each of those before it really clicks to them as a concept, and they get each as a concept. It's not easy but once they do you can teach them almost anything.

I think they have a concept of time naturally, though it seems to not be so well developed.

The fun part for me is to get them to chain commands with all three of those concepts. Like go to a place, get a thing, put it in a place or give it to a person.

Sometimes even 4 in a chain, but that seems to be asking a lot of even the sharpest dogs..
 
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