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November 2023

Dogs Do Understand Some of What We Say

Wednesday, August 31, 2016
posted by Jim Murphy

smartdogsScientists are now supporting what dog owners long believed. They found evidence that dogs do understand some of what we are saying. Researchers in Hungary scanned the brains of dogs as they were listening to their trainer. They did this to determine which part of their brain they were using.

They found that dogs processed words with the left hemisphere and used the right hemisphere to process pitch — just like people.

Another interesting fact is that the dogs only registered that they were being praised, if the words and pitch were positive. Meaningless words spoken in an encouraging voice or meaningful words spoken in a neutral tone didn’t have the same effect.

“Dog brains care about both what we say and how we say it,” said lead researcher Attila Andics, a neuroscientist at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest. “Praise can work as a reward only if both word meaning and intonation match.”

These findings suggest that the mental ability to process language evolved earlier than previously believed. What sets humans aside from other species is the inventions on words.

So when you say “dog treat“, your dog understands those words. When he sees his dog leash, he knows he’s going for a walk but he understands the words “stop”  “wait” “lets go” etc. while being walked.

Remember, your pets count.

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