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Dear Readers and faithful friends,

After a number of years of wonderful blogging, this blog has effectively become dormant - except for occasional updates regarding my book, MAXDOG. I have left this blog as a legacy to my dog and a place of sanctuary where we can reflect upon his life. Take your time, peruse the pages spanning Max's 18 months in cyberspace. Feel refreshed and uplifted because his story is an amazing one of..."LIVING LIFE TO THE MAX!"
My activities have now moved on to my new blog entitled "LIVING LIFE TO THE MAX". Please join me there where you can read about my family and canine companions. I also invite you to visit MAXDOG's FANPAGE on FACEBOOK. You can follow the specific links by clicking below:

* 'LIVING LIFE TO THE MAX: click HERE
*MAXDOG'S FACEBOOK FAN PAGE: click HERE
* MAXDOG, the book: click HERE

If you would like to follow me on a deeper, spiritual level, then I invite you to visit my more personal blog:

May God bless you and thank you for following me!
MAXMOM IN SOUTH AFRICA

MAXDOG's CHRISTMAS TRIBUTE

Friday, March 19, 2010

HOW I TAUGHT MAX TO "TALK"...

GREETINGS FROM SOUTH AFRICA!!!
 



 
Hello there to all our friends across the globe on MAXDOG's...
41st Day of Grace!

MAXMOM here...
Today’s post is going to be an extreme linguistic challenge...

As many of you might know, I find it difficult to upload videos onto blogger – mainly because our bandwidth here in South Africa is very expensive. It literally takes ages to upload video footage. So today I will have to rely on my language skills to get my message across to my dear, furry friends...




I am not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but do you know that MAXDOG can
“TALK” ON COMMAND!?!

Yes indeed he can!

When Max was young and still being actively trained, he and I achieved this incredible feat!
 It is something that I am quite proud of.
What do I mean when I say “Talk on Command”?

Well this is what I mean...

If I put my right forefinger on my right cheek bone (as if I am pointing to my eye) and I get Max's attention and say:

MAX!... TALK!” , he will respond with a LOUD bark!

This is his basic “TALK” command.

Moving on...

Now if I make a soft fist with my righthand, put it to my mouth and then open and close my fingers gently but rhythmically, Max will respond with a  GENTLE AND SOFT BARK! This has become his
SOFT "TALK” command.


Moving on...

Then, if I keep this last action going but slow my own body language down (visibly relaxing) and verbally ask him :

“MAX!...SAY MmmmOM!”

..he will literally produce the stretched out word, “MOM!”

I personally think this is an incredible achievement for a dog because it is almost impossible for a dog to produce the “O” sound!
Unlike humans, dogs have elongated mouths and snouts and cannot create that hollow “O” sound.

So how do I get Max to produce the "O" sound?

In order to understand my answer you will have to do this yourself ....

SAY: "mmmmmmmmmmmm"

Then somewhere between the mmmmm’s lick your top lip and quickly bring your tongue back into your mouth. You will discover that the sound changes to

 “mmmmmmllllummmm”

which technically sounds like
 “Mom”

It is extremely funny to watch Max’s expression as he determinedly tries to emulate me and produce this sound. Here are a series of photographs in which I try to show you his expression whilst trying to obey my command...







 The actual moment of MAXDOG sticking out his tongue has only every been caught once on camera, I am showing you and old photo....


The interesting thing to note in this ‘talking’ exercise with MAXDOG is that his mouth and snout get very itchy whilst trying to accomplish it. He ends up licking his lips profusely...

...My very sweet and endearing Dog will do anything for me!

Finally as a “reward” I spur him on further and allow him to bark to his heart’s content!!!

As a whole, the exercise produces endless tail wags and happy expressions!

I must warn you, that if you try and teach your dog how to "TALK", it will take HOURS of practice and patience!!!

 You might like to teach it in private because, from an observer’s point of view, it is extremely funny to watch the trainer make all these barking and mumbling noises as they try and get the idea across to the dog. :)


I have personally found this to be an extremely rewarding accomplishment because on occasions MAXDOG produces this “MmmmmOM!” sound spontaneously.

Obviously this generates a HUGE cuddle from me and only serves to reinforce his behaviour.

Good luck to you all who are going to attempt this ultimately rewarding experience with your companions!
 I will be interested to hear about your endeavours.

With lotsaluv
MAXmmmmmllllummm IN SOUTH AFRICA

47 comments:

kks said...

oh Maxdog!! so cute and smart! hope to see a video of him saying mom!
such a sweet guy who always pleases mommmy...
hope you have a peaceful weekend...
love you maxdog!
xoxo

Gail in Aberdeen said...

Wow Caryl that is truly incredible. You must be SO patient! Clearly you and Max have an incredible bond (as if we didn't know that already....) The story comes across very clearly in your words, although it would be lovely to see a video of MAx talking! Too bad about the bandwidth problem.
Cheers,
Gail.

Piappies World said...

Hi Max!

Thanks, Maxdog Mum for the lesson. The series of photos is a brilliant idea! You don't seem to run out of talents. Mommy here is now set to try it out with us this weekend.

When our Mama (Piappies Mom's Mom) teaches me and Sugar how to dance by holding our front legs as she tells us what to do, Mommy wonders if neighbor think we are running a dance studio. hehehe

We'll keep you posted who amongst the piappies could have the potential to talk like you. Weeeee

-Mocha & the Piappies

Angus said...

It only goes to show that Max is not only handsome but intelligent. If you had tried that with the two troubadors your sanity would have been severely tested . Having said that the boyz know the words for sausage in 84 languages.

Madi and Mom said...

Hi Max dog and Mom you are quite good with words and explanations. I felt like I was right there beside you and understood every command you worked on. Your method seems to combine sign language and verbal...very unique but then our sweet Max dog is a very unique dog...yes I say OUR because I have come to love Max and if he were my own. Happy 41 day of Grace Max and remember you are loved by so many,
Madi and Mom

The OP Pack said...

How fun!!! Sometimes Mom thinks our woos sound like "I wuv woo" but she has never taught us that. It is fun for us to see how happy it makes our Mom - too bad she doesn't have a tail to wag too:) Hope you all have a great weekend.

Happy Friday.

Woos - Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

Jake of Florida said...

You both have incredible patience -- and talents!!! Is it too late to start with an 8-year old?

And can you get Max to stop barking if he chooses to start?

Here is what passes for talking between me (Jake) and mom.

She says, Jake, sit!

I sit.

She says, Jake, do you want breakfast?

I lick my lips with my tongue to say yes.

We were told by a canine connoisseur that dog's do not lick their lips with their tongues to say yes to a command -- but I do -- and Mom loves our morning conversation.

As for me brudder: he hangs around and when he sees the ritual, he runs like heck to his feeding post!!

Mmmmmmmmmmmoommmmmmmmmmmmm, Max!!!

Jake and Just Harry

Emma Rose said...

Hi Max,
You know, if your Mom wants to put a video on a CD and send it to my Duchess we would be happy to upload the video to You tube for you. Then all you need to post is a link. We are also happy to post it on our blog if you cannot post a link, so everyone can see it. That would work wouldn't it? I don't know how much the postage would cost, but it is way for all of us to see you in action. If your Mom wants to talk about it the Duchess can be reached at theduchess@rconnects.com

Kisses,
Emma Rose

Scout 'n Freyja said...

Well, if anyone of my dogs can do this it will be Scout. He's my talker. I've got him to verbalize before by facing him directly and talking to him about something he knows: Would you like a cookie?

This weekend my grandsons will be with me. My oldest, Joe, has taught his dogs several tricks so guess what? I'm going to ask Joe to read your post and see what he can do with Scout and then with his own dogs.

I used to be able to get my little spaniel to say "mama" when I would rub her tummy. I think she said what she did just to flatter me so I'd rub her tummy more and more.

So happy to see that Max is doing what he does best - putting one paw in front of the other...

Sheila and Bob said...

Rescue Sophie here;

Of course Max Dog can talk. Us Golden's have so many talents, and so many that folks don't know about.
My Brother Hamish will come and put his head on Mom or Dad's leg and very quietly make little grunting sounds. Once he gets going you can't shut him up, you know how boys are.
Hamish will also speak when given the command using the index, middle and thumb opening and closing.
If you say the word "whisper" very softly and give him the same command he will bark very softly.
I can't give him any commands because I don't have any THUMBS !!!!!!!
Love you Max,


Sophie

mayziegal said...

Oh, I am Most Impressed. I think it would take me 172 years to learn to say "mom" in human language. As you can tell, I'm very fluenty in writing the human language but not at speaking it. But that Maxdog - he's a prodigy! Okay, I have to go now and start practicing.

Wiggles & Wags,
Mayzie

KB said...

Oh my! That's amazing! I've never heard of a dog learning to make such subtle sounds. And, Max looks SO focused on you as he tries so hard to please you. I love the photos and the story.

I can't imagine that my dogs will ever be able to say MmmmmmmOM but it seems worth trying!

You and MaxDog are quite an amazing pair!

Kira The BeaWootiful said...

Wooos Max Dog! woo is very talented, but my Mum is shaking her head, she says the last thing she needs are more critters calling her name at all hours....
~puppy kisses~
-Kira The BeaWootiful

Joy said...

I loved seeing MAX and his girlfriend run. Good MAXdog!

Stella said...

Max, you are such a smart boy, and your Mom knows just how to train you!

For me, I live with a profoundly deaf Mom and I learned myself to raise my bark to a higher pitch, so she can hear it. She couldn't hear my deeper bark. So that is something!

Kisses,
Stella

brooke said...

Max is such a smart doggy! Im impressed! Now I want to go and teach Darwin how to speak on command... well, she sort of knows how, but I want her to say mom!!

Mrs. JP said...

The video is great and thanks for your patience in loading it. But I love the photos of MAX talking. Did you think when you were writing this that the 200+ people who read your blog would, at some point, all be going "mmmmmm" and licking their top lip!! When I did that, as a good participator, I thought of that and Laughed Out Loud!!! Thanks for the silly giggles today - you taught me too!
Speedbump will "speak" when she feels like it or wants something. It's so funny because she speaks then scratches her side, then looks at me, without blinking, and speaks again and STOMPS HER FOOT! Like "really, I mean it."
Blessings to you all.

Deborah said...

Good Boy Max! Mommmmm is a good word to say!! I would eat that up if my dogs talked. Ariel smiles though and frowns if she is sad. I should try to grab that on camera!
I loved your pictures. I think I told you allready, but I did watch the video and I've been bragging to you to all my human friends in New England!!!
Have a great weekend!
xxoo
Deborah

Tessa the Maltese said...

WOW Maxdog and MaxMom you 2 sure are an AMAZING TEAM!!!

Hugs, Tessa

Jacqueline said...

Max is an amazing and special baby on so many levels; how wonderful to hear him call you Mom!!...The deep bond you share with this wonderful soul is something so precious, time and space cannot change/alter/break it=it is indeed a forceful and timeless energy that will stay with you forever....Happy weekend.

Mack and Mia said...

Wow Maxdog! You never cease to amaze me! That is so cool that you can say MOM! We clearly have a lot of work to do!

Have a great weekend MAX! Rest easy dear friend!

Wags and Woofs,
Mack and Mia

Priscilla said...

I love it! What a great trick! Max is such a clever boy :)

Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom said...

All three of us are smiling here!

Hugz&Khysses,
Khyra & Khousin Merdie

Moose said...

Most impressive and adorable! I would love to hear it! Can you upload only the sound part of the video? I know video software will separate them but not sure how myself. I think some cameras will record only sound too. Just a thought... your description was very thorough so I can easily picture it!
I know lots of the world has limited connection speed and I can't wait for the day when everyone has fast access.
I loved the end of walk video though! They sounded like horses galloping by ;-) He is looking great and I am happy to hear he is having another good day! Sometimes it is good when doctors are wrong!

Ms. ~K said...

Oh Yes, yes!!! We can hear you Max, all the way here in Georgia!
Can you say, " Y'all? "

We all love y'all!
~K and pups

Roberta @ Silverwalk said...

MaxDog, you are so smart. I am going to use MaxMom's techniques to try to teach Scout NOT to bark. Scout is an English Coonhound who doesn't bay well but his nickname is "Sir Barksalot." Says it all :). I am so happy you are enjoying your days of grace. We are enjoying your story, though we came in late :(. God bless and practice on!

houndstooth said...

Maxdog, I know you were smart, but I had no idea you were so talented, too!

Bunny

Junior and Orion said...

Maxdog you are amazing!!!!!!!!!!

Maggie and Mitch said...

You are so smart, Max! We loved all of the pictures of you talking!

Love ya lots
Maggie and Mitch

kissa-bull said...

aww most darling maxdog ish just full of smarticles. we've never talked before but we can toot in unison teehee
pibble sugars and wee wags
the pittie pack

sprinkles said...

You are simply amazing, Max!

My mom used to have a poodle that would meow. People would come over and ask if we got a new cat. Nope, it was the dog! Not sure how he did it. He stopped doing it so much when he got older.

the booker man said...

that is so awesome, mr. max!!
i'm not sure i (or my mama) have the patience to learn that, but maybe we'll give it a try!
*woof*
the booker man

Twinkietinydog said...

My mom tried all the commands with me, but I refused to obey BOL. She did however print your post to plaster on our walls. This time whenever she tells our cat, Bob, to say "mommy" and everybody makes fun of her, she can always point to your post. Mom says Bob is "this close" to saying momma.
Twink!

TK said...

You two have an amazing bond. He obviously cares about you a lot to attempt to such difficult things to make you happy.
TK

Gill - That British Woman said...

I am glad to hear he is still with us.........

Gill in Canada

Mango the Maltese kiddo said...

Hello celebrity Max, happy belated barkday to the talky Max.
Wow, I wish I could say only one word "Mom" like you, I guess I have to practice, practice so my mom will let me get away with every crime I make!
I have tried to register with BBC to leave a comment in your post but it wouldn't let me. It kept showing the red letter X next to my username, I don't know what's wrong with my name Mango the Maltese kiddo, it have letters in there like they asked.
Love ya lots!

Clive said...

Oh Max, now you have really put it up to me! You can TALK!

Murray keeps trying to get me to talk - especially since he got DUG - the talking dog from UP! All I hear from him is "talk Clive, you can do it, you can do it" - now he really will expect me to "do it"!

We are so impressed with you Max!

Have a lovely weekend
lots of love
Clive (and of course the NSLM)

Samantha said...

I must say that I'm not at all surprised that you've taught Max to speak! You are both amazing out-of-this-world beings! But I'm definitely sitting here saying mmmmmmmmmmlllommmmmm over and over again, trying to figure out how to teach this to Sam (if my hubby were here, he'd think I was nuts!!!) But we do know how to practice! We hope we can do it!
Big Hugs xoxoxoxo
Sammie and mom

Hero said...

You are amazing, Max! Neither Tagpi nor I know how to talk on command. My mom wanted to teach me, but I'm a very quiet dog so she hardly ever gets to mark my barking and teach me a talk command. At least I know how to kiss on command. I love giving kisses.

Tweedles -- that's me said...

I believe your words when you say Max would do anything for you.
And you are a good teacher.
We were on the edge of out seats listening to your story of how you taught Max.
This was incredible,
Max is so intelligent.
love
tweedles

Cheyenne -Millie said...

Maxdog!! We love you! Especially that first picture! You are so good to your mom!

Lorenza said...

I'd love to hear Max saying Moooom!
He is soooo good!
Kisses and hugs
Lorenza

Tom, Tama-Chan, Sei-Chan, Yuu-Chan and Bibi-Chan said...

We already had a good idea of how intelligent Max is but this takes our respect for him (and his Mum!) to new heights!

Woofs,
Tommy (and the whole gang)

Nika + PARKER said...

That's awesome!! It was greatly depicted with all your photos : )

Mango said...

That is so hard that momma won't ever even attempt to teach it to us. You are a real champ Max. Too bad we can't get audio.

Slobbers,
Mango

The Bumpass Hounds said...

Hey Ms. Caryl and Max and Gang,
That learning to talk must've taken lots of patience. Old Bear Dog, he's at The Bridge now, used to talk to mom. They'd have conversation at normal conversation levels. Dad used to laugh when mom and OBD had their "talks." No one ever taught OBD to talk it was just a talent that he had. Mom would say something like "Hi Bear" and things would go from there.
We hope that you have a GReat weekend and get plenty of rest and relaxation. We've got the Good Vibe Machine turned up to full blast and pointed southeast to South Africa. We've got you in our hearts and prayers as we do everyday. We love you guys: a LOT.
- TBH&K

ocmist said...

We KNEW you were smart, Max Dog, and this just is another proof of that! How NEAT that you can TELL your Mom you love her by calling her by "name!"

I've been working on saying that too, but I do it a different sort of mummbley way and it comes out more as Mama... BG from the Country Corgis