I read an interesting article from MSNBC last week, Real Dr. Doolittles: Most claim to understand pet. According to the AP-Petside.com poll, 67% of pet owners say they understand their pets’ sounds with 18% stating they comprehend them completely. Also, 62% of pet owners claim their pets understand them when they speak. Even more interesting is the differences they found between men and women and dog owners vs. cat owners. Men are twice as likely to say they and their pets are “clueless”. Three in 10 dog owners say their dog doesn’t understand them with nearly half of cat owners saying the same. However, 25% of cat owners say they understand their cat where only 16% of dog owners say they’re “totally fluent in barks”.

I talk to Mocha and Coal all the time. For the most part, I think they understand although they often choose to ignore me. I get no respect [sigh]. I understand them and can certainly tell the difference in their barks and what they mean – playful, lonely, protective, etc. They understand key words (i.e. basic commands, dinner, walk, outside), but otherwise I believe their understanding is based on my tone of voice and emotions. I remember one day in particular – quite possibly the worst day I’ve ever had at work. I accidentally washed my best client’s brand new cell phone that she had forgotten in the pocket of a spa robe. Needless to say, I burst into tears when I got home. Mocha sat there, leaning against me and nuzzling me until I stopped crying. If that’s not understanding, I don’t know what is.

Please take time to participate in my short survey: http://www.polldaddy.com/s/F5334F6FD3C6708D/. I’d love to hear your comments on this subject. Do you talk to your pet? What do you say to them (i.e. basic commands or more in-depth conversations)?