Tali and Communication

Tali and Communication


Note: Combinations of most of these communications, as conversation, usually mean something to Tali.

“Bad” and “Bad boy”. Not often used but very well understood.

“Back”. He responds; particularly with an accompanying hand movement.

“Bed“. Therefore “Go to bed”, “Go to your bed”, “I am going to bed”, etc.

“Birds/s”. He knows what it means and looks around himself or them when he hears this.

“Careful”. Combine with “car coming” if appropriate.

“Come”, “Tali come”,  “Come here”.

“Coming”. He understands I am coming or somebody (named) is coming and, in the case of the latter, can get keen prematurely: hence “Later” below.

“Dog/s”. He knows what it means and looks around himself or them when he hears this.

“Drink your water”. With reference to his water container or “Drink” with reference to any water, but he does not drink elsewhere normally.

“Eat”, “Not to eat”. Knows both.

“Enough” and “finished”. He understands and responds to these words. In the case of food, for instance, when, after eating, he is still trying to lick the last smell off the bowl with much clatter the word “Enough” stops it. Also as an example, if he hangs about after being fed, apparently waiting for more, the word “Finished” gets him to go off to do something else.

“Friends”. To let him know when this applies.

“Frightened”. He seems to understand this as a state he may be in.

“Get off the road”. He will do this even to the extent of walking on the concrete strip between road way and grass verge, particularly when the latter is wet or long.

“Get down” or “Down”.  Applying to any situation where he is required to move down.

“Get up on this” or “Get up here”. Particularly on walks he will get up on to objects if asked. Pointing is required if the object is unfamiliar to him.

“Go and look”. On walks he does not go far from me but, at times, used to look somewhere as if interested. One day I tried, ‘Go and look!’ and he immediately went off to look. Now he looks to me for the go ahead, goes off for 10m or so, and comes tearing back to the path as if having done something magnificent!

“Go away”, “Keep away”. With the latter important if there is a danger needing him to keep away e.g a snake.

“Going to the shop”. This to inform him that I am going and he cannot come with me. [Usually followed by “You wait here (or at home) like a good boy.”]

“Going back”. Added 30.06.13. because my body is starting to complain I started to do half my usual walk in the morning and do another half in the afternoon if weather and my body permit. Consequently, I started turning back and, on the first day I did this Tali was, as usual, ahead of me si I said to him, ‘Going back.’, turned back and retraced my steps. From the next day all I had to say was, ‘Going back’ or ‘Back’ and he would turn and backtrack.

“Go on” and “Off you go”. – words of encouragement implying a specific direction.

“Hide & seek”. He enjoys playing this game and goes into the bathroom for me to close that door and then hide his “toy”.

“It’s alright”. Puts him at ease.

“I am busy”. Tali often comes to me for me to do something with him, or even to talk to him. I tell him this and suggest an alternative for him which he usually does – or goes to bed.

“Keep away”. See “Go away” above and “Move” below.

“Later”. He seems to understand. See “Coming” above.

“Leave it”. e.g. On the show grounds were he is exercised there is horse dung. When he first came across some fresh dung he decided to eat some and I noticed this after he had had his first sample. I said, “Leave it alone! Come! Leave it!” and he obeyed; and has done since. Showing signs of disobedience where horse dung is concerned.

“Left” and “right”. verbal or by using the arm or hand as well. Also “Going left or right” as appropriate.

 “Lets go!” In any appropriate situation.

“Lie down”

“Letter box”. He knows that this means I am going to the letter box especially if I pick up the bunch of keys.

“Look” or “Look for it”. The latter when playing hide & seek but applies anywhere. With reference to an object; or simply “Look” where that is what you want him to do.

“Look”, To look long distance; particularly from an elevated position on walks. I also sometimes also ask “Can you see anyone?” [See “Get up on this”]

“Looking for ticks”. I tell him this on returning from a walk and he goes off, or makes to go off, to the table I use for this. He now anticipates this – eagerly.

“Move” or “Move away”. See “Keep away” above.

“Naughty”. Less of a criticism than “Bad” and he knows the difference.

“No”. The word somehow understood from day one. Mostly, there is no reason to emphasise the word.

“No jumping” “Don’t jump” . Does not respond well, especially when excited. Probably due to an innate need of a small dog.

“No barking”. 26.08.14. Since maturity Tali began to bark more at home as if announcing his territory. This was becoming a nuisance especially when he scares the living daylights out of me by suddenly barking near me on his way outside, at the rate of knots, to continue his protection of  “home”! He cannot see much through or under the back fence so he barks at any unusual noise or smell. I have managed to teach him “No barking” but, understandably, he finds it difficult, as it is contrary to a very basic instinct, and often looks at me with a bark or two “in his mouth” or throat, as if saying, “There is something there, there is something there!” I manage to calm him (to what extent depends on how important he thinks it is!) with the phrase, “It is alright.” or “It is OK.” In recent times, as soon as we enter a certain area of the large complex of football, cricket and equestrian area of our showgrounds he runs ahead, hackles up, barking at nothing but looking beyond the boundary as if shouting, “This is my territory!” and then goes about his normal business. N.B. 19.02.16. I have found that the best way to stop him barking unnecessarily is to, when he does bark thus, call him inside and, with no further word or sign, simply block his dog door with something for a while. This is a gentle way of training.

“No biting”. Now mature he seems not to bite at all but this does not apply to other animals where he now defends himself.

“No noise” or “No barking” or “Go out and look but no noise”. He fully understands and obeys well most often.

“Not going anywhere”. Having picked up the keys I say this if I am only going to the back or front door and he understands but will observe me!

“Not going there” or “Don’t go there” Both work equally well either with reference to his or my intentions.

“Nothing there”. When he barks apparently unnecessarily this is to put him at ease and stop the barking.

“Outside” or “Inside”. with or without attached words. Important where play things are concerned because he will habitually keep “outside” things outside and “inside” things inside if he is shown them and told where they are to be used.

“Rubbish”. One and a half years ago he used to bring rubbish into the house to chew etc. but since I told him what was rubbish and what was not, as well as that “rubbish” was for “outside” and “not inside”, he has not brought any inside. However, he should still remember the word.

“Run”. Out in the open he will do this – exuberantly or otherwise – depending on how he is feeling. I often tell him to “pick it up and run” with reference to a plastic object, a feather etc.

“Say please”. He  responds in a few ways: types of bark, jumps on forefeet etc. preceded by “Would you like a bone?” or “Would you like some meat?” [I do not use the word food in this context because food has come to mean anything edible and now refers mainly to casual eating (his obsession) outside the house and garden.]

“Shake”. This is so that, if he is wet for instance, I get him to shake outside; which he does. Sometimes, however, he beats me to it and if I ask him to shakes again he objects by barking at me but will  oblige if I insist.

“Sign language”. Although previously I had been almost unconsciously communicating with Tali by signs, since about three months ago I have been training him and, as usual, this is a very simple matter for him and for me. He now responds to signs indicating “Stop” or “Stay”, “Go”, “Come”, “Left’, “Right”, “Ahead”, pointing to the tricycle tray with, if necessary, an anti-clockwise rotating of the right wrist, to indicate “Get in”. If I point he is learning to look where I am pointing rather than, as most dogs do, look at the hand. To aid him in this I also sometimes say “Look!”.

“Sleep” He actually gets into the sleeping position to sleep.

“Stay”. for staying still in one place.

“Stand”. When checking him for ticks or something else and i want him to stand instead of sitting as he is want to do.

“Stay with me”. If close by he remains so; if some little distance ahead he stops or slows.

“Stop” and “STOP!”, “Stop that”. Covers all sorts of possibilities and he usually obeys.

“Sunshine”. He often sits or lies in patches of sunshine in the house to get warm, as he does in the garden, and he now understands when I suggest that he goes and lies in the sunshine.

“Take it”. or “Take”. Understands.

“This side”. This applies mainly on walks to indicate to him where he should be with reference to me. The response is automatic. He now understands this in other situation as well e.g. with reference to an object – of furniture for instance.

“The other side”. As for “This side” above.

“Wait”. for waiting in a place, room etc. Learning but response is limited to the short term.

“Wait for me”. As for “Stay with me” above but is more emphatic.

“Where?”, “Where is it?”. Accompanies “Look” and “Look for it” as well as applying in its own right where applicable.

7.9.2017: NOUNS TO DATE.

Collar, poo, food (referring to stuff he scavenges when on walks), meat (referring to his proper food), chew (Jerky treats – but NOT rewards), horse, cows, hare, hare poo, collar, bird, cat, dog, moth, fly, lizard, grass, eat grass, look for grass, car, scoot (for mobility scooter) and the list goes on!!!

In conclusion: Where commands are not important a conversation with him brings surprising results because he seems able to string known words together with other words to make sense.

See entries and their comments on 3 other pages: CLICK


Bark: He does a lot of barking when at home; too much, in fact, but I think it is mostly defending his and the master’s territory. Often he will bark and then come inside and give me the look that says, “See what I have done?” or ” I have found something – come and see!”. Like me he is very noise sensitive.

Bark – muffled: He uses various alternatives of this to attract my attention indoors.

Growl: If I am doing something, e.g washing up, and ignoring him he will sit down behind me somewhere and periodically growl until I respond. If I start a one sided conversation with him he does not bark again as long as I talk.


Hardly a day goes by without my being amazed by the intelligence of this dog. In recent times. At the risk of repeating what I might have said before say now that Tali understands speech – perhaps only my speech – and has started responding to things I say in the course of talking to him which are, at that moment, not yet commands.

I may be repeating myself when I now say that when told to “Look”, “Look for it”, “Smell”, “bite”, “Where is it?” and similar, he will do just that!


If his low growl does not attract my attention, e.g. because I have earphones on, he will come to me and tap me with his paws.

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