Clip of Collie Reacting to His Favorite Words Has Internet in Hysterics

A border collie responding to his favorite and least favorite words is causing trouble for the internet.

In a clip posted to TikTok on September 14 by user @farmer.lamb, Rex can be seen either smiling or growling while his owner Charles lists his likes and hates.

So far, the post has garnered more than 810,000 likes and nearly 30,000 shares, with one TikToker likening Rex’s experience to an “emotional roller coaster ride.”

Border Collie with head tilted to the right
A stock photo of a happy border collie with its head cocked curiously to the right. TikTok users couldn’t stop laughing at Rex’s dislike of the words “washing machine”.
Iuliia Zavalishina/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Can Dogs Understand Words?

A 2021 study found dogs can understand up to 215 words after researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, looked at 159 pets and their owners. The dogs responded to between 15 and 215 words, recognizing an average of 89 words – about the same as an 18-month-old child.

The majority of the dogs responded to their names and understood basic commands like “sit” and “stay”. Most dogs wagged their tails when hearing positive phrases like “good dog,” but a large number struggled with object names versus commands.

Responsiveness to words and phrases was different in each dog, and the researchers said the animals were more likely to understand how to respond to specific words, rather than understanding the word itself.

“Tractor” good, “washing machine” bad

In the video, Rex and his owner Charles are sitting in front of his car. Rex pricks up his ears and seems to grin at the word “tractor”, but is visibly unimpressed by the phrase “washing machine”.

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Rex’s face also lights up at the word ‘car’, but the term ‘nom nom’ makes him growl. “Defaid” (Welsh for “sheep”) gets a positive reception, while “cer i’r gwely” (“go to bed”) leads to more growls.

TikTok users had their own opinions on Rex’s likes and dislikes. “Why isn’t a nom bad?” Nat wrote, to which Charles replied, “I used to pretend to eat his feet when he was a pup.”

Beverly Wild wrote, “Why doesn’t he like the washing machine?” to which Charles replied, “That’s where his toys would go.”

“Why is ‘going to bed’ bad?” commented Kaitlin. “Is he sad that he has to stop playing/having fun?”

“I like how he looks away when you say the nasty words like he’s having flashbacks,” wrote TikToker Avery.

“You had him on an emotional roller coaster,” Ryan Lawson commented, while Noe Postma wrote, “He sounds like he’s sighing heavily and it’s perfect.”

news week @farmer.lamb asked for a comment.

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