Te Wiki o te Reo Māori - Māori Language Week
It's Te Wiki o te Reo Māori - Māori Language Week! But can we incorporate more Māori into our everyday lives with our kurī (dogs)? āe (yes) we can!
Dogs are bilingual!
According to research, dogs are bilingual and can distinguish between different languages. I stayed with friends recently and noticed their dog was bilingual! All of his commands were in Māori. Dalvanius Prime, fur child of my friend Councillor for Porirua City, Geoff Hayward, was called to have her kai (food) and was asked to haere mai (come here) when she was being a bit naughty!
"My dog already knows their commands in english"
It's never too late for a dog to learn something new, contrary to the saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks". Our chihuahua Mac (@macnotcheese on Instagram) is a well behaved boy but doesn't know his basic commands. We are currently teaching him e noho (sit) and with a few treats as a reward, that boy is nailing it!
How to teach a command
To teach your kurī te reo, say the new command followed immediately by your usual command. For example, "e noho, sit". Praise and reward your dog when they get it right with "yes!" or "good boy/girl" and a treat. Repeat the exercise at different times and in different places so that they continue to learn and recognise the new command. Slowly transition into the new command only when you think they've mastered it.
So what are some basic te reo kuri commands that you can try?
tatari - stay
e noho - sit
takoto - lie down
haere mai - come
More commands are available in this cool book - Teach your dog Māori by Anne Cakebread. One day your dog might even be as good at understanding te reo as Paikea. Paikea, the New Zealand police dog, has been working with her handler since she was just 8 weeks old and knows her te reo well! Ka pai Paikea!