When In Doubt, Use a Foreign Language? | Exploits of an Amateur Dog Trainer: Blog Edition

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Friday, April 1, 2011

When In Doubt, Use a Foreign Language?

This may well be just placebo effect, the idea that something is having an impact when it really isn't, but it seems that ever since I used "abres" and "cierras" for opening and closing doors, it just clicked with him.

Perhaps it's just because the sound is so distinct, there's no "processing time" wasted trying to parse the sounds. He hears nothing else that sounds like that, so it registers quickly and exactly to the behavior. Or perhaps it just clicked in his mind as things sometimes just do for him. Or maybe using his obsession with Dora the Explorer in training got us both picking up some Spanish - for me, new words to try (and a new found interest in Spanish in general), and for him, he's familiar with the sound, since the words were spoken on the show. It may not be totally unknown. Maybe that helped it click - like "oh, I've heard that before and now I know what to do when I hear it!" It would be funny if every time Dora says "abre" on the show, he goes and opens the door!

In any case, I'm not going to let this thing go just yet. That's just the way I am. Soon, I'll be started with the color training in earnest and I'm thinking of using the Spanish words for blue and yellow, "azul" and (or should I say "y") "amarillo", respectively. (Who knew Wally's Dora fetish would come in handy! LOL)

I figure it's worth a chance. Perhaps the sounds of the Spanish language will be so different to him that it will help him learn the colors better, making for a clearer connection. Or perhaps it won't do anything beneficial at all. It can't hurt to try. All it would end up costing is a slice of bread and some time. Wally won't care about the "waste" of bread - considering he'll be doing the eating, and what's a little time in the interest of trying to expand his knowledge?