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In a lab's brain, words can have only one meaning: the meaning which is associated with food. For example, when I give Bruno or Judy a treat from the hand, I say "here" and must remind "take it easy" so I don't get my hand bitten. When we go for our morning walk, Bruno tends to walk in front and may pull so I say "take it easy, slow down". He then gives me the look as if a treat should be coming his way. Or I may say " get back here" and all he hears is "here" and again looks for the promised treat.
 

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Same here. With Caleb it's "What". I guess it's my fault- one time I asked "What do you want?" and gave him a cookie when he nosed the jar. Now all he has to do is hear "what" and off he goes to nose the cookie jar.
 

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Rush and Boo seem to know what words mean without a food association except for the treat words, like cookie, bite, last bite, taste, smell, DAIRY QUEEN (Rush's favorite) and cake. Rush knows the difference between DQ and cookie, and ice cream and cookie, cookie and cake etc. Now that's not to say she associates the words with the product. She knows ice cream is in the freezer, and cookies are in the drawer, and cake is usually kept in the oven (when it's off to keep one very cake obsessed lab from helping herself) If you ask Boo what do you want, she will no doubt want to play ball, if you ask Rush she'll take you to the kitchen for anything edible. :D:D
 

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One that amazes me most is Sammi knows the difference between her "treat ball" which is a orange ball I put kibbles in and she chases it around the house, and biscuit ball- which is a little purple football I put one of her biscuits in and she has to work to get it out. Which ever one I ask for, she gets and brings it to the cupboard where I keep both her kibbles and biscuits! I always say to DH she is smarter then she acts :D
 

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Morgan was my first dog as an adult. He was a Lab mix we raised from a pup. He could be very expressive. When he was about eight months old I heard him moaning in the kitchen. When I got to the kitchen doorway I found him laying on the floor head up looking to see when his audience arrived. When he saw me he laid his head down and was quiet for a moment. He then started moaning and dragging his body towards his water dish. When he got to the dish he lifted his head and put his nose into the dry dish. He then gave out a anguished moan collapsed onto the floor feet up and closed his eyes. I applauded. He got up and I filled his dish.

When he wanted something, Morgan would sit at attention in front of me, waiting to be recognized. He would politely clear his throat. If I was reading a newspaper or a book he would nose under the reading material and stand on the chair staring me in the eye until he had my attention then go back to his square sit, very attentive.

"Want something?"
His tail would swish three times across the floor and stop.
At "Do you want.." his ears would go further forward and his head would cock to the side and we would run down the list of 20 questions.

His tail would swish very slowly in anticipation of me giving him the right answer. If i was wrong it would stop, If I was close his head would tilt further.
Sometimes it would be:
Something to eat
Water
A treat
Out
Up on the sofa
Out to play
A hug
Attention
A belly rub
A ear rub

He would huff when I missed it, Bark when I was clueless. No he did not bark very often.
When I got it right he would jump to his feet dance about and then we would go do whatever it was he wanted. If it were a hug he would sit very still and give a sigh of contentment.

If I did not know what he wanted I would say "Show me" and he would lead me to what he wanted A toy out of reach, left overs from the kid's lunch, a towel. One time I did not know what he wanted. Oh he was frustrated. At Show me he raced for the kitchen and sat down in the middle of the floor staring at the cupboards by the sink. There.

I opened the cupboard. "Want a glass?"
Snort. Stare
"A plate?"
Bigger snort, stomp of a foot. Very hard stare. No. There.
And then I saw what he was looking at. The Aspirin we gave him when his back hurt.
I got an Aspirin for him, gave him a treat and a well done.
 

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For Remy "Drop It" equals treat. Hey, as long as he turns over the pilfered item I'm happy to keep the cookie jar fully stocked.
 
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