Today I talk about owning a pet dog in Britain as you improve your English language fluency skills. I’m going to talk about my personal experiences and about some problems you might have with dog ownership.
As you will find out, dogs are a great addition to any family, but having a dog has its perks and its drawbacks. Listen to this Adept English lesson and start improving your English language skills in a natural and immersive fashion.
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The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.
⭐ Johnny Depp
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Experiences Puppy Neighbours Drawbacks Onomatopoeia Howl Soar Illustrated Excessively
Today I’m going to talk about something which many people love! That is their pet dogs. I’m going to talk about my personal experiences and about some of the problems you might have with a dog. And because this is Adept English, while you’re listening, your brain will be learning English vocabulary, grammar and sentence construction - without you really noticing. How good is that - and what better way to learn English than this? Any more difficult words - I’ll spell and explain them, as usual for you.
Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.
Many of you say that you lack the vocabulary in English for things in common, every day life. You want to hear everyday English subjects, everyday conversation topics, because that’s what’s difficult to learn. Especially if you don’t live in an English speaking country.
So you want everyday, informal English - so that you can understand ordinary English people, ordinary English conversation. In this podcast, you’ll hear me talk informally about some observations around dogs and dog ownership. Lots of lovely vocabulary for you.
An article I saw this week, which captured my attention was about our dogs. And specifically about ‘how your dog barks’. ‘Bark’, BARK is both a verb ‘to bark’ and a noun, ‘a bark’. ‘Barking’ is your dog’s way of speaking, his way of communicating. Now it may surprise some people, just how highly we regard dogs in the UK. Dogs are our pets.
For many people having a dog is similar to having a child - they’re a member of the family. They’re important. And during the last couple of years, while people have been more at home more because of the pandemic, dog ownership - the number of people who own a dog - well, it’s soared in the UK. ‘To soar’, SOAR means ‘it’s increased a lot’, dramatically. So if you come from a country where dogs are not seen in this way, this is insight into British life and British attitudes and it may be surprising for you. But for many people around the world, their pet dogs are a part of the family, just like they are in the UK.
Now barking is a natural thing to do for a dog. But with increased dog ownership, comes more noise - especially if you live close to other people. Barking dogs can be a problem, a noise problem. Noise pollution, perhaps if you like. Now I’ve owned dogs in the past, I love dogs. But as I’ve spoken about before - currently we have two cats, no dogs. But we are surrounded by neighbours with dogs. There is a Shitzu called ‘Oscar’ in the house next door at one side.
A Shitzu, SHITZU - careful with that word - it’s a type of small dog. There’s also a pug, PUG - another breed of dog, and he’s called ‘Leo’, in the house opposite ours. And our neighbours at the other side, who have two young children have just got a spaniel puppy. A ‘puppy’, PUPPY means a young dog, a ‘baby dog’ - called ‘Jasmine’.
A ‘spaniel’, SPANIEL is a breed of dog, which is very popular. They were originally hunting dogs, but they’re popular pets because of their nice appearance, but also because they’re good companions. I’ve had a spaniel in the past. Spaniels want to please human beings - so they’re really easy to train and pleasant company! They’re also the ones which the police use as ‘sniffer dogs’ - dogs which are used to find drugs or firearms - they ‘sniff them out’. ‘To sniff’ (sniff, sniff, sniff) is ‘to smell’. So spaniels want to please humans - makes them easier to train.
Now I like dogs and I’m happy that my neighbours have dogs. But there is some noticeable noise. You are aware of each of these dogs at times! The pug, Leo can sometimes be heard crying - and the noise makes you stop and listen, because he sounds like a child crying! I think he does this when he’s howling to come back into the house from the back garden. The verb ‘to howl’, HOWL means to cry, loudly and with feeling. If you ‘howl’, it’s very emotional.
The spaniel puppy, Jasmine can be heard barking occasionally, usually when she wants to be let back into the house too. So neither the pug, Leo, or the spaniel, Jasmine are a problem - they’re nice dogs. But - oh my goodness - the Shitzu that lives in the house next door to ours - Oscar? Well, he spends hours standing in the garden, just barking. What’s he barking at? I have no idea. All three of my children have at various times complained about Oscar. He wakes them up because they sleep at the back of the house. He’s loud. Why is he barking? We don’t know. My children all really like dogs - but they’re not keen on Oscar. I’m sorry, Oscar, I’m sure you have your reasons for being a ‘barky’ dog. But we don’t understand them.
Just before we go on, a quick reminder of our Most Common Five Hundred Words Course. In this podcast, we’re covering vocabulary to do with pet dogs, but if English is more generally difficult for you and it would be good to improve your basic English vocabulary, then this course is right for you.
It focuses on the most common, the most frequently used words in English - so there are some ‘big wins’ in doing this course. These words make up a huge part of English conversation, whatever the topic. If you do this course, you’ll find the podcasts a whole lot easier. And you can buy it on our website at adeptenglish.com. Back to our topic.
So when I saw an article this week in the Guardian newspaper, written by Jules Howard, where he’s talking about ‘Why Dogs Bark’, I read with interest. In fact, Jules Howard has made a study of this - and written a whole book on ‘why dogs bark’. He talks about how his dog, Oz has a ‘delivery-driver bark’ - so a particular type of bark that he uses for the postman or for delivery drivers. In the dog’s eyes, this person is approaching the house, without permission, without being invited, and therefore they must be a threat, an enemy. So the writer observes that his dog’s bark here, is very low and deep. The dog wants to sound as though he’s a very ‘big dog with a deep chest that probably has sharp teeth, so you had best run away’!
But Jules Howard notes that if his dog wants attention, like ‘I can’t get my ball - it’s under the sofa!’ - then his bark is more high-pitched. The sound is higher, less deep. He’s not pretending to be a big dog at that point. Instead he’s asking for attention. He’s trying to talk to you - he wants something. And the writer notices also that if his dog is out on a walk and there are other dogs that he wants to be friendly with, he’ll ‘yap’ - that’s both a verb and a noun, YAP, ‘yap’. It means a high-pitched, short bark that dogs make.
‘Yap’ is one of those onomatopoeia words - the words in English which make a sound like what they describe. ‘Yap, yap’ - is what you might hear from small dogs. But ‘yap, yap’ - it means ‘I want to play with you. Let’s have some fun together’. High pitched - not threatening.
3 small sitting dogs bark on the sand. Listen to our lessons and you gradually become more adept at using English. That sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it?
I’m reminded there, if you like dogs, there is a series of children’s books in English by Lynley Dodd, which are about ‘Hairy McClary’ and his friends. These are children’s books, but actually, they’re quite amusing, beautifully illustrated and the English in them is really quite advanced! So if you’ve got English speaking children and you want to practise your English, reading to them, these are really good books to practise English speaking with, especially if you or your children like dogs!
In his book, Jules Howard gives advice - on what to do with barking dogs. How to work out why they are barking, how to handle it, so that it stops being a problem. The advice is very similar to that with children. ‘Don’t reward bad behaviour by giving it attention’. Even shouting back at your barking dog, is giving their behaviour attention, so it may make your dog bark more. If he’s barking at delivery drivers, then really, he’s doing his job of protecting your home. But how to get him to tone it down? Is your dog barking because you don’t give him enough attention? Dogs left on their own at home for many hours with no company - this can be a reason why they bark a lot. Don’t get a dog unless you’re home a lot. It’s a bit like leaving a child for many hours on their own - it just makes them unhappy.
There’s also a discussion in this article about whether the breed, BREED or type of dog makes a difference. It is thought that some breeds of dog bark more than others - so you may want to think about this before you get a dog. Apparently, louder breeds of dog include Jack Russells, Chihuahuas and German shepherds - German Shepherds are the big police dogs - the ones which apprehend criminals by grabbing their arms with their teeth! Quieter breeds include spaniels and labradors. That’s not surprising - both spaniels and labradors were originally bred as hunting dogs - trained to retrieve what had been shot on a hunt. So you don’t want loudly barking dogs if you’re hunting.
More broadly, the animal psychologists advise that if your dog is barking excessively, that mean ‘too much’ - then you need to find out why. It could be that the dog is unhappy, distressed by something in his environment that makes him fearful. Or it could be that she’s not exercised enough - or that your lifestyle doesn’t really suit a dog. Before you get a dog, think about whether you can provide the conditions that a dog needs - for the sake of your neighbours as well as yourself and the dog!
For the moment, we’re happy with our cats. They’re affectionate, they come and sit on your knee. They’re intelligent and they make us laugh. And they’re quiet. All you hear is a little miaow sometimes if they want to be fed. And crucially, while we’re really busy, they don’t need a lot of attention - they go off and do their own thing. However, if you’ve got time to spare - there’s no substitute for a dog as a companion.
Let us know what you think of this podcast. Let us know about your doggy experiences. We’d be really pleased to hear from you. And if you enjoyed this podcast, don’t forget to give us a review or a star rating on the platform that you listen on. This above anything else, helps more people find Adept English and learn English the natural way.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at adeptenglish.com