Dog Language: How Many Words Does Your Dog Know? Here’s A List Of The 80+ Phrases My Dog Understands

by Lynnette

Dog Tricks To Try, Humanizing Dogs, Indoor Fun With Dogs

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I can’t believe I actually took the time to do this, but I did. So I’ll share it here.

And I encourage you to try to make a list of the words your dog knows as well as the commands your dog understands.


You might be surprised just how “smart” your dog is!

Here’s a 5-minute test to see how smart your dog is: Test Your Pet – A Dog IQ Test

The fact is, most of us wonder how smart our dog really is.

Canine intelligence is measured in a lot of different ways. One of them is how well they understand human language.

Taken literally, that means the number of words and commands a dog knows.

So I did a count and created a list of all the words & commands that my dog knows.

Believe it or not, my dog even knows how to spell some words!



Dog Language: The Words and Commands My Dog Knows

My dog is a 10-year-old Black Lab / Great Pyrenees mix.

These are the 80+ words he clearly understands:

  1. “Watch out” …means you better back up, you’re in the way.
  2. “Move it” …means you’re in my way.
  3. “Get on the rug” …means stay on the rug by the door, so I can wipe off your muddy paws.
  4. “Leave it” …means don’t you dare pick up whatever is on the ground that’s got your interest right now.
  5. “Give” …means put it in my hand.
  6. “Bring it to me” …means go get a specific object and bring it back to me.
  7. “Just a minute” …means be patient – if you sit calmly, we’ll do something fun in a few minutes.
  8. “Wait” …means the same thing as “just a minute.”
  9. “Brush” …means we’re going to brush your fur now.
  10. “Turn around” …means turn around so I can brush the other side now. (yes, he immediately turns 180 degrees so I can brush his other side)
  11. “Ears” …means let me look inside your ears now.
  12. “Nails” …means we’re going to trim your nails now.
  13. “Toes” …means put your paw in my hand. (handy for wiping muddy paws after coming back in the house)
  14. “Other toes” …means switch paws now, and put your other front paw in my hand.
  15. “Toes up” …means put your front paws up here, so I can help lift you up. (like into the truck)
  16. “Go for a ride” …means we are going to leave here and get in a vehicle.
  17. “In the car” …means we are going for a ride in the car, the Jeep, or the truck.
  18. “Bath” …means you’re going to get a bath now.
  19. “Lick your lips” …means you’ve got drool hanging from your mouth. Please lick your lips to remove it. (yes, he actually does lick his lips on command)
  20. “Drop it” …means get that out of your mouth immediately!
  21. “No” …means stop doing what you’re doing.
  22. “Un uh” …means no.
  23. “Okay” …means yes.
  24. “You did it!” …means let’s all jump with excitement because you overcame something big. (like walking thru the doggie door without coaxing for the first time; you can tell he feels really proud when he accomplishes something for the first time and we shout this phrase)
  25. “It’s raining outside” …means you better do your business outside quickly or you’re going to get soaked. (yes, he does hurry because he hates the rain)
  26. “Stay” …means stop in your tracks and don’t budge from where you are.
  27. “Sit” …means plant your butt right here and stay calmly.
  28. “Lay down” …means lie down on the floor and stay there calmly. (I use this command whenever he’s acting easily excitable – because it’s harder for him to get up out of this position to go running after someone or something.)
  29. “Come” …means come here immediately.
  30. “Good __” (good sit, good stay, good come, etc.) …means thanks for doing what I asked you to do.
  31. “Good boy” …means you should feel proud, you were good (at home all day by yourself or being quiet when the doorbell rings)
  32. “What?” …means are you trying to get my attention? (he will open his mouth and make a sound that’s similar to that famous talking dogs video)
  33. “Show me” …means go toward whatever it is you’re wanting me to see.
  34. “Tell me” …means “speak” or bark to tell me you want something. (to come in the house, food, water)
  35. “Quiet” …means no barking.
  36. “I got it” …means you can relax, I’ll handle this. (yes, he really does relax and quit barking or being fearful)
  37. “Whisper” …means tell me quietly. (he will open his mouth as if to make a sound, but he literally whispers)
  38. “Sing” or “Sing a song” …means make a rhythmic sound as if you’re singing a song.
  39. “What did I say?!?” …means don’t make me tell you again! (yep, he actually “gets” it)
  40. “Toy”…means any one of his playthings.
  41. “Dolphin” …means his favorite toy – a large stuffed dolphin.
  42. “Football” …means not just any ball, but his large football.
  43. “Ball” …means any round ball toy from his toy box.
  44. “No lick” …means quit licking incessantly on your paw (because it could lead to a hot spot)
  45. “Food” …means his dog food; time to eat.
  46. “Water” …means his drinking water; he’s thirsty.
  47. “Treat” …means a reward for doing something good.
  48. “Treat toy” …means a Kong toy or his Buster Cube – both dog toys have treats inside them.
  49. “Treat pills”…means any medicine that he has to take. Nightly, it means his Glucosamine & Fish Oil pills – followed by one of his favorite treats.
  50. “Go for a walk” …means we’re going to go for a walk on the leash now.
  51. “Wanna play?!” …means I’m going to get on the floor and play with you now.
  52. “Run!” …means hurry and run around to release some of that energy!
  53. “Stay on the porch” …means say on the deck outside for a few minutes, rather than coming inside the house right away.
  54. “Swim in the pool” …means go swimming either in a lake or a swimming pool.
  55. “No more” …means you’ve had enough. You’re not getting any more (treats, playtime, hugs)
  56. “Some more?” …means do you want more? (he’ll either give me the sign for “yes” or walk away if he means “no”)
  57. “Shake” …means do a full body shake to get the rain or bath water off your fur.
  58. “Pray” …means lie down on the floor with your chin on the ground and say in that position until I say Amen.
  59. “Roll over” …means lie down and show me your belly.
  60. “Tickle your belly” …means I’m going to rub your belly now, so lie down and roll over.
  61. “Hugs” …means snuggle up close (he doesn’t really like to snuggle or be held)
  62. “Touch” …means touch your nose on the palm of my hand.
  63. “Kiss” …means touch your nose on my nose.
  64. “Tell me secrets” …means touch your nose behind my ear – like you’re telling me a secret.
  65. “Look at me” …means look into my eyes and pay close attention to me.
  66. “Heel” …means walk right next to me – either on or off the leash.
  67. “Easy” …means calm down, slow down, and be careful. (like after it snowed and the deck is slick. If I say “easy” he will step carefully on the deck rather than charging outside to run and play)
  68. “Down” …means don’t jump.
  69. “Outside” …means go potty.
  70. “No outside” …means don’t potty in the house.
  71. “Outside quick” …means we’re in a hurry here, please go potty quickly and hurry back. (he gets a great treat every time he responds to “outside quick”, but no treat if he takes his time)
  72. “In the house” …means go inside (after a car ride or playing outside)
  73. “Buddies” …means “friends” or anyone we want him to think of as a “friend”.
  74. “Wanna go__?” …means do you want to leave here and go somewhere else with me?
  75. “Get the mail” …means we are going to walk to the end of the driveway get the mail out of the mailbox, and then come back in the house. (he excitedly opens his mouth eager to carry all of the day’s mail into the house)
  76. “Upstairs” …means take something to Jim upstairs in his office.
  77. “Take out the trash” …means we are going to push the garbage can to the curb and then come back in the house.
  78. “On my bed” …means jump up on our bed now.
  79. “On your bed” …means lie down on your bed now.
  80. “Go get __” …means go get something and bring it back to me — like a specific toy or the remote control.
  81. “Catch” …means I’m going to throw this to you, so catch it. (ball, frisbee, or a treat)
  82. “Be shy” …means lie down and put your paw over your eyes – similar to a game of peek-a-boo.
  83. “Ready?” …means are you eager to go somewhere with me?
  84. “Go” …means walk forward or move forward.
  85. “You got my socks?” …means thank you for bringing back one of my socks that I left lying on the floor. (he brings it ever so gently in his mouth; he gets a treat for bringing things to me instead of chewing on them – it’s usually socks)
  86. “Yes?” (as a question) …When you ask him if he wants to do something, then say “Yes?” he will get excited and rush to do whatever it is. If he doesn’t get excited when you say “Yes?” then it means “No, I don’t want to do that.”

Interestingly, I found this quote after I compiled the above list of words & commands my dog understands…

After intensive training, dogs can grasp somewhere between 50 and 90 words or commands, depending on the breed, genetics, the person, and the environment. Even the smartest dog has a lower IQ than a 3-year-old child. ~Katz on Dogs

Must read: The Most Intelligence Dog Breeds & The Least Intelligent Dog Breeds