I'm very careful about Allie's ears. They get infected easily--mainly due to allergies, to which Golden Retrievers are notoriously prone. That's why I feed her raw food from this company, and take care that she consume no grain whatsoever. But I've also learned how important it is to keep her ears clean, so I do the job twice a week, without fail.
I didn't realize until yesterday, though, that I must have been saying the same thing to Allie immediately prior to every cleaning: "Allie, time to clean your ears." Yesterday, however, that realization became very clear, because when I uttered those six words, my Golden girl stopped dead in her tracks, looked right at me, then turned around and began trotting away from me.
I never cease to be amazed at how closely our dogs study us and how much of our language they really do understand. While the apparent vocabulary of one dog, Rico the Border Collie, is truly remarkable, I suspect that many of us would be astounded if we took the time to make a list of the words and phrases our dogs know. Allie's list would include such words and phrases as "breakfast", "dinner," "chewie," "brush" and "cocktail" (don't ask).
As for Allie's antipathy to ear cleanings, I'm hoping that this task will be more palatable if I literally appeal to my puppy-girl's palate. So when I say those not-so-magic (to Allie, anyway) words in the future, I'll have a couple of pieces of venison jerky at the ready. Hopefully, those treats will encourage her compliance beforehand, and will certainly reward her for stoicism afterward.