Do Dogs Understand Our Language?
[Aug. 4, 1883.]
I think the question has been mooted in your columns as to whether dogs
sometimes understand our language. A circumstance that has just occurred
leads me to think that it does happen, where they are highly organised
and living much with their owners. While our family party were sitting
over dessert, a cork jumped from an apollinaris-water bottle on the
sideboard. I took no notice at first,
but after the conversation was
ended, I got up and looked about for a few minutes, soon giving up the
search. My brother asked what I was looking for, and I answered. I had
no sooner sat down than our little dog crept from behind a piece of
furniture, where she was reposing on the end of a rug, and went straight
up to the cork, looking up at me and pointing to it with her nose. It
was near me, but the shadow thrown by the table prevented my seeing it.
She is a very nervous little fox-terrier, a most "comfort-loving
animal," and spends her life with one or the other of us on my sofa,
when her master is out, but hearing his voice at a great distance, and
always attending to it.