What non-standard commands/phrases do you say to your pet?

Going past the standards like sit, stay, treat, or walkies. What other things do you say to your pets?

I tend to speak in French to our pug. The most often repeated question is “qu’est-ce que tu fais?” which means “what are you doing?” He’s always up to some trouble and saying that is his cue to come running to a spot in front of me and look innocent.

There’s also the “allons-y” which is the “let’s go” where both dogs will herd around us as we go.

“Bed time” means (obviously) that we are moving to the bedroom. They also know the words “Petsmart” and “Dog Park” and will eagerly get ready for those.

The cats will just shift position with us in the morning, but if I slap the mattress twice, they know it means “Get up, I have to pee!”

“Come see me” means I go over to the couch and the dog pounces on top of my lap, or chest if I’m laying down, and happily licks my face because she’s excited to see me home.

“Do you want to go for a car ride?” makes her go ape shit. She loves going in the car.

She understands “Are you hungry?” and “Do you want supper?” too, but I don’t know how non-standard they are.


“Is mommy home?”

“[neighbour’s dog] is here!”

We’ve been trying all along to get Lilith to fart on command, the command being, “Stink!” but no dice. Sometimes she appears to have learned it, but it just seems that way because the timing’s bound to be right occasionally.

Of course, you could say that about anything we’ve tried to teach her.

I use “wrong!” when the dummy goes the wrong way around some obstacle on leash.

“Shut the fuck up?”

:smiley: Does it work?

Briefly. He acts all taken aback like, “Okay, geez, I didn’t realize my incessant screaming bothered you so much. I’ll give you 3 whole seconds to get me a carrot before I start again.” (guinea pig)

“Come on,” which is said in a sing-songy voice and sounds more like “COOOOOOOM on” with “on” being about a musical third below the first note. This is what I say when I want the cats to come upstairs. Works about 50% of the time – probably the 50% when they were planning to come upstairs anyway.

My cat seems to respond to “Ungawa,” when I want him to get off of me. Then again, maybe it’s the way I toss him off my lap that drives the point home … but I’m sticking with the faux-swahili.

I yell at my cat “Down In Front” when he wants to stand on my lap instead of sit.

He knows what it means and will settle down.

Wipe your feet.

They run in circles on the towels I have placed at the back door and then drop their butts and wait patiently (not) to be rewarded.

When they slack off it’s followed by:

Do you think they’re clean?

At which point they will do one more circle before looking hopeful.

If we even whisper the words ‘ice cream’, Dot comes running and will respond with a stuttered meow. Every night she gets a teaspoon of Kemps New York vanilla, and heaven help us if she doesn’t.

Dot is also our seeker. If you ask her to go get Lucy / Mayme / TheKid, she will run to wherever they are, meow at them, run back to me, meow - back and forth until whoever I have asked her to find is in front of me. Then Dot will flop on her back and wait for good girl tummy scritches.

If we ask if anyone wants to go outside, Lucy cat will go and sit by her harness and leash. Dot and Mayme run and hide.

My cat, like most cats, likes to stare into space like a dimwit. I use these moments to practice my Italian and Russian and interrogate her about what she’s thinking, planning, dreaming, fearing, loving, and any other verb that comes to mind. (Sometimes I’ll even use both languages in one sentence, just to confuse her. Works every time!) If she meows at me after any question, I take that for a yes and proceed from there until my vocabulary runs out.

It’s non-verbal, but whenever I go into my cigar humidor he knows to run to the front door to have his leash put on for walks.

And “Let’s say grace” means he needs to sit down in front of his dish and bow his head reverently to pray. “Amen” means “dig in”.

He also knows “outside” means “go in the backyard and tinkle”.


“Move” is one of my favorite comands which I’ve taught al of my dogs.
Also useful, “other room.”

We use a lot of non-standard phrases with our dogs, but I think they are predominantly responding to our hand signals. I didn’t realize that until our ol’ Doggety pretty much lost his hearing, but responds to our standard gestures just fine.

Unless you gesture too vigorously, in which case the eyes get big and sad, the ears go back, and he slinks away cause you were “yelling” at him. Its a combination of cute, sad and annoying.

“Markie, you’re going to be in charge for a while…”

Yeah, Markie knows by now that this comment means that I am leaving the house. He does not like this as he has an unhealthy emotional dependence on me - but he knows and he is resigned to it. He immediately assumes the ‘in charge’ position, which is hopping up onto the papasan chair and curling up for the interminable wait. Pretty much any comment which includes the phrase ‘in charge’ results in him jumping up into the papasan and looking despondent.

Also…‘wait!’ This always means ‘whatever you are doing, stop it and sit down!’ It is used when he tries to rush through the door when being let in the house, rushing visitors when they come through the door, rushing the food dish…pretty much anytime he feels the need to hurry.

Also…‘manners!’ This means ‘don’t jump on me just because you are excited to see me, don’t jump on anyone else either - just don’t jump!’ This always results in him controlling his excitement enough to assume a ‘sitting pretty’ position, which is up on his haunches, soliciting attention but not actually attempting to climb anyone!

He does pretty well - he’s a good dog! :smiley:

Whenever I walk by the bathroom, the Boy Cat says, “water?” in a hopeful tone of voice*. I turn the tap on to just a trickle so he can get a drink.

Oh, wait, that’s a nonstandard command/phrase my pet says to me. I’m well trained.

*Swear to Og. He’s got a bit of an accent, being a cat and all, but it’s clearly “water?”

“BLADDER!” But in reality, I think it’s the “AIEE!” that precedes it, combined with an immediate and violent whole-body spasm that makes the cat jump off of me.