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Tali – Communication update 27.9.20.

29.9.20: His understanding of English is now quite surprising as he obviously understands the language expressed as speech and not just short commands i.e. conversation!

He will also attract my attention when he wants it by a growl or by putting his paws up on something near me e.g. the bed edge, the seat of my chair or something similar.

Furthermore, when he sees me thinking, growls at me and when I look at him he is sitting on his haunches, looking at me disapprovingly! THE CHEEK OF THE FELLOW!


This little fellow really amazes me still! We now almost converse, me by voice and sign and he by growls, whines and looks etc. Yes, CONVERSE, like talking to a child – and at times I do not even have to be looking at him!

Update on Tali’s birthday 2012 (1 year Old).

ONE YEAR OLD on 23.03.12.

                                      <Tali having greeted me on my return from shopping on 19.03.12. [Click to zoom.]>

AGE ONE YEAR UPDATE:                                                                                                                               

Height and weight updated on page 1.

Appearance & characteristics: Throwback signs, or signs of some naughty boy creeping in somewhere, are now apparent in him: he has signs of many of the breeds from which the Minnie Foxie has been bred viz in recent times long hairs of up to 3 cm in length have appeared in places in his coat* which, generally, has got a bit coarser (but this may be due to maturity); his neck is longer than it should be for the breed, as is his body, but he has the characteristic hare’s-foot feet. An unusual, to me, development has been the loss of virtually all fur on the underside of his neck and the underside of his body, from the last rib backwards, and the inside of his legs. This latter feature is obviously quite natural and not a health issue.

* Reminiscent of the wire-haired fox terrier and the coarse-haired Jack Russell terrier.

He is very agile and fast and I should describe him as a Minnie Foxie – Bullet! . . . . . . . or HST :-)

Whatever his blood line/s he is a delightful and exuberant animal who animates almost every person who sees him. His intelligence has increased, if anything.

Physically he is in perfect health: not an ounce of excess fat and thick bunches of muscles on his hindquarters while his chest is a good width and deep. He is not as squat as the pure Minnie Foxie being longer and only about 66% as wide.

At the risk of boring readers with further examples of this intelligence here is an update:


He knows/understands –

“Not going anywhere.” with reference to myself.

“Friend” with reference to a person or animal.

“Get off the road.” When out walking, and on roads, he will stay on the footpath, or what constitutes the footpath even if it resembles the road or respond to this command when he forgets where he is supposed to be.

“Left” and “right”. He now knows what I mean when I tell him this but, where the options are not well defined (e.g. when “left” is a paddock and “right” is the path), he may be unsure and needs me to point or move slightly in the required direction.

“Wait for me” “Come with me” . He responds to both, each in a slightly different way. Most often his response is hardly noticeable because he simply obeys or does not do what he had in mind (and I know what he has in mind!) whilst, in either case, not looking at me. At times though, I do know that has ignored me or is preoccupied with something else and, at these times, he is commanded and responds.

“Don’t go there”. I use this mainly when on our walks when he strays from or shows signs of straying from, the “straight and narrow” – mostly in search of bits of food. The same if I see him thinking of getting onto the road.
General – Most of our communication is like conversation and at times he will respond to something given as advice or a suggestion, having, obviously, given it a bit of thought . . . . .  but he can be stubborn or preoccupied with something else and this determines the tone I next adopt.

I cannot recall noticing this in any of my previous dogs, three of whom were also highly intelligent, but this little fellow actually seems to think about what I say to him – and I don’t mean the usual pricking up of ears or the cocking of the head etc. Often, when he is on his way to do something and I suggest something else he will stop, think?, and then do it. Today, some time after our walk, he was on his way to his bed for a lie down when I suggested to him that it was sunny outside (it has been raining for days!) and that he would be better off in the garden hunting insects in the lawn (which he had just been doing whilst I was hanging out the washing). He thought about it briefly, went off to his bed and, about 30 seconds later, came out of the room and went off into the garden to investigate things!


Indoors he has a spiky, squeaky plastic ball* and a similar “ dumbbell”** which he plays with when it is suggested or he is told; and also plays with “ball” and “toy” simultaneously: he has discovered that when the “bone” in his mouth touches or hits the ball the ball rolls, so he hits the ball with the bone in his mouth to move it and then, sometimes, drops the “bone” and grabs the ball. He has different variations to this play. He uses his front paws a lot.

*April 2013: He now has a Bionic ball.

** The Purina Love Bone.


Obsession.  He is obsessed by two things: Me and food. The first is probably due, apart, possibly, from an innate trait, to my conversing with him a lot from the first day. He and I both being alone we had all our time together and the bonding probably became excessive. Where food is concerned there is no apparent reason for this because he has never been under fed and has never been spoilt with “treats”. When out of the house this latter obsession of his is about the only reason for reprimand – the only unpleasantness that he experiences from me. Now, I tend to let him do his own thing provided there is no excess or danger involved. He does eat some very strange and even dangerous things like plastic fork prongs, bits of plastic, bird feathers, wood, roots, pebbles !!!!!!! :-)

Achievements in the first 3 months & updates:

Achievements in the first 3 months in italics & at 4 months in bold.
Mastered the pet door in 12 hours.

Toilet trained in a week of arrival but prone to making the small, involuntary mistakes of the usual first three months. Fully trained.

22.09.11. Chewing of household items.

The only such damage he has caused is a couple of bites on the end of the handle of the Jason recliner. When I first noticed that he had had a little chew I hid the handle in an old sock and he did no further damage until, one day, the sock had fallen off The damage was again only slight.

Note: From the start I have made it a point to keep things he was likely to chew just out of temptations way but not out of reach and, if ever I noticed or suspected his interest in an item, I promptly gave him a firm ‘NO!’ which as I have stated before he always seemed to understand even if no said with emphasis.

Update 16.05.12. A few days ago he had undone and chewed a lace with which I had tied his bedding into a frame for winter. I told him that he was naughty and knew that he should not chew things – and he looked very guilty. I told him that he was not to touch things like “this” whilst showing the pieces to him and he has not touched them since.

NEW: 26.07.11.


A few weeks ago I noticed that, if he were hovering around expecting me to play or give him something and I went to where my computer is, he would check to see if I had sat down and then go outside to play.

NEW: 02.08.11.


Tali used to frequently, and now infrequently, bring into the house bits and pieces of rubbish and I discouraged him by explaining that rubbish (shown to him) was for “outside”. He learned this pretty well. Update 24.02.12: Since learned completely.

Yesterday in the garden, I found, and gave him, a piece of rawhide chew he had left around and he was chewing this when I went inside. He made to follow me with this but, when I turned to him as I entered the house, he went away with it. So I went outside and said to him, ‘It is OK, that is not rubbish, you can bring that inside.’ and he followed me and stood outside, near his door, apparently seeking confirmation of what I had told him. I said, ‘Yes, that is alright, you can bring that in.’ and in he came in, happily.

Update 11.08.11. No longer brings rubbish in from outside. I have seen him drop it a metre way from his door before entering.


Understands and responds to:

“Come”, “Tali come” and “Come here” – Increasing levels of command.

“Go outside”  Update: 16.08.11: Now a simple “Outside” or “Inside”, or the inclusion of the word in a sentence, giving the suggestion or command, suffices.


“Get down” or “Down”

“Go away” or “Away”

“Go on” and “Off you go” – words of encouragement.

“Get down” off something.

“Go to bed” or “Go to your bed”

“Go, drink your water” which he does instead of drinking from a flower pot.

“No!” The word somehow understood from day one.

“No jumping” “Don’t jump” . Does not respond when excited.

“No biting” He understands but finds it very difficult to obey when excited. Does not respond when excited  and he does get very excited with his great effort! He will be OK when he matures.

“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.


“Say please” He now gives a single bark for “please” for his food or a bone or anything for that matter. For the food or the bone he sits and stays until told it is OK to move. He gets too eager and makes a few little mistakes but with maturity will be fine. More self-control apparent. Excellent progress.

Update 16.05.12. As alternatives add to “Say please!”, “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.]

“Stay” for staying still in one place. Excellent progress.

“Take it outside”. Responds well.

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

“No biting” He understands this but finds it very difficult to obey when excited and he does get very excited with his great effort! He will be OK when he matures.

Update 23.07.11: This morning, after our walk, he looked towards me for his usual “bone” (a piece of chicken neck) and I told him a few times, ‘No bone.’ When he persisted in sitting and looking at me imploringly I said to him, ‘No bone today, I’m sorry.’ and off he went outside!
Off his own bat he has learned that when I go to the computer area and sit down he is not going to get attention and goes off to do his own thing with, sometimes, a little whine as a grumble. On one occasion he waited by his door until he was sure I was going to sit in my chair and then darted outside to amuse himself.

“Enough” and “finished” Update 27.10.11. He now 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.


The Garden Gate:

Over about three occasions he learned to “Wait!”, once the gate was opened, and then “Come!” as I move to exit. He now waits unasked until the “Come!”, “OK” or “Lets go” – unless excited (when he forgets to wait!).


Barking as a demand: Having learned to say “Please” he has started barking as a demand. When told to stop he stops or persists. In the case of the latter if he does not respond to being told to stop it or be quiet I either turn my back on him or, if that does not work, put him out of the room and shut the door for a few minutes. That works!

Update 10.09.11. When told to stop he is now learning to do so. He is also learning that a raised finger means ‘Desist!’

Update 09.09.11. He has recently started barking to protect his territory and/or me and, consequently, barks at almost any outside, nearby noise. As soon as he started this, which he did from the safety of the house, I started to tell him, ‘Go outside and look.’ Because previously, when playing with ball or toy, I have told him to ‘Look for it.’ if he lost sight of the plaything, and he understood this in no time, he immediately understood the new “command” and acted accordingly.

Update 25.02.12. He is very sound sensitive and reacts in direct proportion to the volume. He recently even barked at a grass hopper that flew into the house.

He is understanding my telling him that certain things and people are friends – a word he now understands.

“Ball”, “Toy”. Update 24.02.12. Knows “Ball” for squeaky plastic ball and “toy” for squeaky plastic bone.
“Toys” and “Play with your toys”. Understands

“Push” and “Push it!” He has a plastic football in the garden which he can only push around by his nose and by trying to bite it and learned in a few minutes to push it around on command.

Update 04.12.12.

Somewhere here I must have mentioned that he started to bat a rubber ball with his “toy”. This he has been doing more efficiently for some months but, recently, I noticed that he was also batting the ball with his paws – either one – as well as his nose and the “toy”.

New 11.10.11. Raw bones. About three weeks ago I started giving Tali soup bones instead of chicken neck halves because he was chewing half the half neck and swallowing the rest; all in a matter of minutes! I used to give him the chicken neck pieces through the dog door and he soon learned to eat them outside. I continued this with the soup bones and, when he first brought one into the house I had a look at it [having first asked for his permission!!] and, as it was still “wet” with meet and marrow etc., asked him to take it outside, which he did promptly. Some days later he was on his bed indoors (where it always is – bedroom at night and sitting room during the day) and, seeing a “dry” bone outside in the garden, I brought it in and gave it to him saying, ‘This is OK, it is not dirty.’ He started chewing on it. I recently suspected that he was bringing the bones indoors, to his bed initially, once they were “dry”. Today, I gave him his bone at 11 a.m. and he brought it indoors at about 5 p.m. Remarkably he does this without any signs of fear or guilt. I continue to be surprised by this dog.

Update 05.11.11. Raw bones. Having discovered a few small, dark patches on the carpet and concluded that they came from these bones in some way I decided that they could not be brought in in future so, the next time he brought his bone in (after the necessary cleaning of it!) I had to tell him that the rules were changed and that bones ha, henceforth, to be kept outside. Thereafter, when he next brought the cleaned bone indoors, I told him something like, ‘I’m sorry, son, but take it outside.’ Naturally he was puzzled by this and I had to ask for the bone and put it outside whilst emphasizing, “Not inside”, “Outside”. On that day or the next he came through his dog door, stopped immediately inside it and looked at me saying, obviously, ‘May I bring it in?’ and I told him kindly that I was sorry but he could not. Since then he has only brought a bone, a very clean and dry one at that, inside – and had it removed to where it now belonged!

Update 29.11.11. Raw bones. Some days ago he ceased bringing any bones inside although, at times, he leaves them outside but close to his dog door.

New 05.12.11. Shaking (coat) e.g. to eliminate water.

Mainly because entry to the house is directly into the sitting room and I do not want a wet dog shaking itself in the house I have been teaching Tali to relate the word “shake” with that act. I have been doing this by saying, whenever I could, the word “shake” each time he shook himself for whatever reason so that he could make the association. Yesterday, it drizzled when we were in the garden so, when we came in, I had the opportunity to test him. We stopped on the concrete apron outside the front door and I said to Tali, ‘Shake’ and did so myself, doggy fashion (yeh, funny!). He looked at me enquiringly and I did it again. Then, he gave himself a good shake . . . . . . . . . bloody marvelous!!

New 20.01.12. Chews. On days when he does not get a bone or, very occasionally as a surprise treat, I have been giving him a slim rawhide chew. These are Bono Fido chews and are about 10 mm in diameter and 120mm long. As usual with all food he takes it outside and until recently was sometimes having difficulty getting the chew through his dog door because the opening of the door is only about 15mm wider than the length of the chew help across his jaws. At these times I used to realign the chew in his mouth. Very recently, however, I noticed that on his way to the door he was “tossing” the chew a little in his mouth and centering it across his jaws and, that way, having little if any difficulty getting through the door  Just to be sure I watched him a couple of time more and, yes, this is what he has worked out!

New 04.12.12. Barking and quiet.

Tali used to bark at everything that moved until he got familiar with it and, because he was disturbing neighbours as well as getting told off by me I changed tack and started teaching him that I wanted either “No noise” or “No barking.” Since recently he seldom barks if he hears or sees anything untoward. Instead he gives a sort of bark in his mouth or just growls a little. At times he will do the subdued bark and look at me and if I tell him something like, ‘Go and have a look but no noise please.’ or ‘Go and have a look but no barking.’ he goes outside an either gives his muted bark a few times or does not bark at all.

His ability to respond to simple and unfamiliar talk has increased.

23.03.13. Update.

Takes ball to toy to bat it and vice versa.

He comes to check me from where he is if I exclaim in pain in the manner I must have done when I smashed my shoulder (04.08.12.) and had to walk home in the dark and freezing cold with only my little pup to see me the 500 m or so home. All I remember of him was him circling me and never leaving me despite his not being on the leash.

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