In English dogs are often referred to as “man’s best friend.” It is very common for families in the United States (and Western culture in general) to have a pet dog. A pet is a domestic or tamed animal that lives with people. Pet dogs in the United States often live inside the home with the people who own them, sometimes they have their own special bed or they even sleep in the bed of their owner. Some dogs do live outside though in special “dog houses.” People keep dogs as pets for many reasons including: as a companion, to have as a guard, to be a playmate for children. Generally dogs are thought to be loving, fun, active animals. Many dog owners you ask will tell you their dog is like a member of their family. People in the United States spend a lot of money on their dogs in fact and their are whole stores (many, many stores) devoted just to selling dog supplies like: food, treats, leashes, collars, and dog clothing. People use dogs for many different purposes though other than just as pets. Dogs can be trained relatively easily and used for many purposes including: by the police for detection of drugs, bombs and other substances; as assistance dogs for the blind and deaf (dogs used for this purpose are called “guide dogs”); for hunting; for search and rescue after a disaster; and for herding other animals like cows and sheep. Whether a dog is a house pet or a working dog, one thing that all dogs have to learn is how to understand the imperative tense in English. We use the imperative tense of verbs to give commands to dog. These are usually just one or two word commands. Here are the most common types of commands that are taught to dogs and what they mean.
Sit. (Sit down on your back legs.)
Down. (Put all your feet/paws on the ground.)
Stay. (Don’t move.)
Here. (Come here.)
Heel. (Stop walking or moving forward.)
Once a dog has learned these basic commodes, some dog owners even teach their dogs tricks. Here are commands in the imperative tense that are used to teach dogs some different tricks.
Beg. (Sit with your back legs on the ground but front two paws off the ground in the air.)
Shake. (Put one paw up into my hand. This looks like a person and dog are shaking hands.)
Play dead. (Lie on your side and look dead.)
Lay down. (Put your whole body and head on the ground.)
Using the imperative tense when speaking with dogs is important because it is simple and easy for them to understand. You don’t want your English to sound like you are always giving commands to a dog or animal though. Speaking in very short sentences can sound harsh and like you are giving commands. It is important to fill out your sentences with proper vocabulary (including a subject, object and verb) and when you are using the imperative tense with another person to be polite by adding words like: “please”, “could you”, “if you don’t mind.” For instance it would be more common to say, “Please sit down.” rather than “Sit.” when talking to a person, but there is no need to be polite to a dog so saying, “Sit.”, to a dog is just fine.
Now if you have a dog you can start teaching him/her some English too!
Remember there are always resources to help you with your English (even if there aren’t any to help your pet) at Transparent Language.