Many dog owners can be caught talking to their furry companion like they’d talk to a child or a human friend. Study after study has shown that most human beings talk to dogs as if they’re talking to another human. But, can dogs understand what you’re saying?
That’s the question we’re going to address today. We took some time to dig deeper into this topic to learn whether your dog can understand what you’re saying or not.
Research on how dogs think and comprehend information is a new part of our world. Research has only recently begun to dive into learning how dogs process their human companion’s body language, and spoken language.
Duke University has a Canine Cognition Center open to try to answer this question. That means as we’re writing this article more information will be released soon to change our answers and thoughts surrounding what dogs can understand when it comes to their human companions speaking to them.
For now, we do have some information about dogs and whether they can understand you. This should help you learn more about what your dog understands so that you develop a stronger bond with your furry companion.
There have been a few studies completed that have shown that some dog breeds can map human words faster than other breeds. Rico, a border collie, was featured in Science magazine back in 2004.
Rico was able to learn 200 new words and retrieve certain items based on words alone within four weeks of learning the item’s name. This is amazing and goes to show that perhaps your dog will process what you say within a few weeks of repetition.
It seems dogs are good at noticing the change in your emotions and tones when you say certain words. So while your pooch may not comprehend the words at the moment, within a few weeks they’ll be able to process your repetitive word usage and respond appropriately.
Understanding Body Language
Another study featured in the journal, PLOS ONE, found that dogs can understand body language. This study was shared in 2012.
Dogs have been shown to understand human cues to the point that they can respond to them. This perhaps explains why, when a human is feeling anxious or stressed, their pet dog will often follow them around or try to snuggle up to them for comfort.
This particular study when on to test a dog’s response to smaller portion size. When the person gave the dog a small bowl of food they would use a positive tone. When they gave the dog a larger portion of food they’d use a negative tone. This trained the dog to only desire the small portion of food, as they associated the tone and body language of the person as good when there was less food in the bowl.
There’s still much research to be done, but it looks to us as if your dog can eventually comprehend what you say to them. They will especially learn words that are used more often than others. So, don’t stop talking to your furry companion, they seem to understand and enjoy it!