Dogs are excellent listeners! A groundbreaking study has revealed that dogs understand our words! Their understanding of what we say depends on what we are actually saying and how we say it.
The study was done at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, and their results were published in the journal Science. What they found was that dogs respond to words and the tone of voice used when the words were said.
Using an fMRI (a machine that monitors brain activity), 13 domestic dogs were observed while their owners spoke certain phrases to them with different inflections.
Using both happy and neutral tones, the owners would switch between neutral words and loving words of praise.
The researchers found that dogs used different parts of their brains to hear the tone of voice. Hearing words said in a positive tone, the dog’s brain knew that they were being praised.
When the dogs heard words spoken in a neutral tone, they had some trouble deciding if they were being praised or not. Surprisingly, the data showed that dogs and humans use the same parts of their brains when processing language!
The results of this study don’t mean the dog necessarily understands the meaning of the words you use, just how you are saying the phrase.
So, how you talk to your dog whether you are using a happy or angry tone affects them. They know when you are happy or upset by your tone of voice. Dogs can also recognize body actions used repeatedly – that is why they can be trained to “sit” or “stay.”