Thursday, February 01, 2007

Kirby's English is Improving

Yesterday was an "a ha" moment kind of day for Kirby. In two totally separate instances, Kirby clearly demonstrated his growing understanding of the English language. Why yesterday? I don't know. But Kirby's had a lot of time to think about things this week.

I've been extremely busy with work from several different clients and a volunteer project that all managed to converge in the same week. For the dogs, this has meant long hours of sitting in my office watching me type things into the computer. Baxter is used to it. He just sits and looks out the window or sleeps. Kirby, with his puppy attention span, finds it all a tad boring. So he's taken to notifying me that he has to go out on a fairly regular basis, only to go a teaspoon each time and then ask again 20 minutes later. And if I forget to bring toys to the office, it's even worse. I can't say that I blame him. The only thing more boring than watching grass grow is watching someone typing into a computer. At least the grass sways in the wind.

Yesterday morning I grabbed my tea and started heading for the office (this usually involves a little parade, as I'm followed in line down the hallway by Baxter and then Kirby). I realized there wasn't anything to amuse Kirby in the office, so I turned to Kirby and I said "Kirby, bring your bone." He stopped, thought for a second (I could almost see the little cogs turning in his head) and suddenly a lightbulb went off and he galloped across the room, picked up his rawhide bone and trotted with us into the office. It was beautiful.

Later, as I was fixing dinner, my husband came into the kitchen to inform me that he just told Kirby "go get your toy" and Kirby went straight to his toy, grabbed it and brought it over.

Was yesterday really a pivotal day in Kirby's understanding of our language? Or has he understood these things for a while and we've been too busy to notice? I sometimes take it for granted that Kirby knows things Baxter knows (Baxter has a pretty large vocabulary of English words). And sometimes I'm surprised when Kirby just knows things we haven't taught to him. Like "drop it" and "leave it." I guess we used these commands enough with Baxter that when we started using them with Kirby he just caught on.

Realizing just how fast Kirby's little brain is picking things up gives me pause. Have I missed any great learning moments? Have we spent enough time training him? I honestly don't think so. Some of it is because of Baxter. He's always there. And when I give Kirby a command, Baxter does what I ask. It's great for the demonstration value, but it also means Kirby doesn't get much 1:1 time with me.

Maybe he doesn't need it. He seems to be picking things up pretty well on his own...

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Hey sweetie! Just dropping by to say hello!! Hope you're well.

I love reading your stories of Baxter and Kirby. I'm sure that Kirby's improvement of the language has been thanks to Baxter working with him late at night after you go to bed. :) That *could* explain why he's suddenly understanding.

Too cute!