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More rolled up newspaper!  This time, the subject is dog talk:

What’s happening between dog and owner-turned-voice-coach is fairly straightforward, [the University of British Columbia’s Stanley] Coren says: Owner hears the dog making a sound that resembles a phrase, says the phrase back to the dog, who then repeats the sound and is rewarded with a treat. Eventually the dog learns a modified version of her original sound. As Lucas puts it, “dogs have limited vocal imitation skills, so these sounds usually need to be shaped by selective attention and social reward.”

In the Letterman video “a pug says, ‘I love you’ and it’s very cute, but the pug has no idea what it means,” Coren says. “If dogs could talk, they would tell you, ‘I’m just in it for the cookies.'”

Again, utter nonsense. Coran’s thinking cats.  And if they could talk, they would tell you, “The only reason I’m not eating you is that you’re bigger than me.”

The Scottie I mentioned in the post below not only could speak (and had a filthy vocabulary to boot), he also loved to sing in accompaniment to the piano.  This practice became extremely irritating at times, especially when I was trying to practice, and one of my books of Haydn sonatas still has his teeth marks on it, the result of a serious disagreement we had about his uninvited duets one afternoon when I was a teenager.

I would also swear that Fergus (that was his name) actually had his favorites.  Baroque musick generally left him cold.  He seemed to prefer Haydn to Mozart.  He was on again, off again about Beethoven.  But his absolute all-time favorite was Schumann’s “Traumerei”, which Mom would play for him, milking it for every last ounce of sap.   When he got cranked up, you’d think all the woes of the world had descended on his shoulders.

Funny old guy.

**Oh, you know the old joke about the talking dog whose favorite ball player was “Ruth”.


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June 2009