I’m always talking to my dog as though she’s a person, and sometimes I wonder if she knows what I’m saying, or is her response just from the inflection of my voice?
Turns out man’s best friend may actually understand more than the tone in which you say it.
Eötvös Loránd, a university in Budapest, conducted a study that measured brain activity in 13 family dogs when spoken to.
The article, written by Huffington Post, explained how the study used an fMRI scanner to measure brain activity. Each dog was trained to stay seated while being scanned by the machine.
The trainer then said a variety of praise words in various tones. This included a higher tone which is commonly used when praising dogs, and a neutral tone without any voice inflection.
Researches found when praise words were said the left side of the brain registered the words, regardless if they were said with a high ‘praise’ tone or a neutral tone.
In humans, the left hemisphere of the brain also processes language.
When it came to the tone that was used, the surveyed dogs showed they processed pitch in the right side of the brain, also the same as humans.
The study concluded that although dogs may not truly understand the entire English language, they do understand certain words, and associate them with their familiar outcome when spoken to them by their owners.
Although dogs mainly respond to the tone of their owner’s voice, they can recognize words that are spoken to them often.
A great example of this is Chaser the Border Collie, also known as the dog who knows 1,000 words.
John Pilley is the proud father of Chaser, and has taught her to recognize the name of 1,000 toys.
In a special for ABC’s Nova, Chaser remarkably understands the names of 1,000 toys, and when asked to retrieve a specific one she chooses correctly every time.
So the next time you chat with your pup know they are registering your words, and associating them with how you feel.
Another reason why they are our best and most trusted friends.