I talk to my dog a stupid amount.

When we’re outside especially, it’s a constant babble of one-sided conversation. “What’d you find there? That stick is sort of stuck in that clump of grass, isn’t it? Maybe you should try the other side.” If I were someone else listening to this, it would make me sick.

I justify this behavior with the idea that the more I talk, the more my dog comprehends – not just words, but body language and tone. I’m surprised Border Collies haven’t learned to speak, frankly. I mean, you learn 1,022 words and you don’t bother to wrap your lips around, “Dinner, yo”?

“Binner, bo!”

All this is by way of telling a cute story, or a stupid story, depending on your taste.

Josie O is little, so I slice the pointiest end of the carrot lengthwise and give her half. But yesterday’s carrot was extra thin, so I just lopped off the top and handed it to her. Instead of trotting away with it as she usually does, she just stood there. I noticed the carrot looked a little big now that I actually saw it in her mouth.

“Is that carrot too thick? Do you want me to cut it for you?”

Thpuh. Clunk. That’s the sound of her spitting the carrot on the floor. I picked it up, cut it, and handed it back.

Chomp, and trot, trot, trot, away she went.

It’s probably more serendipitous than conclusive, but I enjoy these little moments. How about you? Got any stories about your dog’s apparent ability to comprehend your meaning?

Here’s a bonus article about how dogs are generally as smart as two-year old kids.

Josie O, lookin’ smart.