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(22,955 posts)
Tue May 14, 2024, 10:44 PM May 14

Your Dog Can Understand What You Say Better Than You Think

This discussion thread was locked as off-topic by Emile (a host of the General Discussion forum).

Your Dog Can Understand What You Say Better Than You Think, New Study Shows

Our dogs understand us better than they've been given credit for — and scientists say they have the brain wave evidence to prove it.

By placing electrodes on the heads of 18 pet dogs, researchers found striking evidence that the animals did not merely recognize the patterns of sound that come out of their owners' mouths, they actually realized that certain words refer to specific objects.

"For decades there has been a debate about whether animals are capable of such a level of abstraction," said study leader Marianna Boros, a neuroscientist and ethologist at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary. The experiments with dogs knock down the uniqueness of humans "a little bit."

A few exceptional dogs have been trained to learn the names of hundreds of objects. Among the most esteemed was Chaser, a border collie from South Carolina who could remember the names of more than 1,000 toys.

Boros wondered whether more dogs understood that words had meanings but just didn't have a way to show it. Even when dogs succeed in behavioral studies, she said, "you never know exactly what happens in the brain."

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(26,043 posts)
1. Two or three times in my life I've met dogs
Tue May 14, 2024, 10:57 PM
May 14

who clearly understood speech incredibly well. Somehow I am not surprised. Dogs have been with us for how many thousands of years? We've been speaking to them that whole time, and I'm going to guess that all this time, the dogs who understood speech a little better wound up reproducing more.

Personally, what I like best about dogs is that almost every single one thinks that this human he has just met is his new best friend.

Oh, and I'm a cat person, but I love the dogginess of dogs.


(6,902 posts)
2. And sometimes words aren't even necessary.
Tue May 14, 2024, 11:45 PM
May 14

All I need to do is give my Dobe a certain 'look' and she settles down immediately.

(Sure wish my Sons had that capability when they were little. )


(52,128 posts)
3. Their body language is very telling.
Wed May 15, 2024, 12:02 AM
May 15

If you look at a dog's ears they seem to behave independently from each other. Each ear acts like its a separate radar dish. You can actually watch them rotate and move to get sounds better. You can also see this in their noses. I am a very visual person and I was always fascinated by the senses of dogs'.

Of course their unconditional love is the greatest gift they have given humans.


(2,699 posts)
4. My dog understands certain words very well
Wed May 15, 2024, 12:04 AM
May 15

ball. treat.food.

holy fucking shit how the fuck did you get into the garbage when I blocked the cupboard with a chair!!!!

you know all the simple things.


(24,681 posts)
5. Good dogs.
Wed May 15, 2024, 12:19 AM
May 15


(35,126 posts)
6. I always talked to my (late) big dog as if he were a toddler. He understood a lot.
Wed May 15, 2024, 12:27 AM
May 15


(63,571 posts)
7. Cats understand even more, but they sure as hell won't admit it.
Wed May 15, 2024, 12:40 AM
May 15


(24,469 posts)
8. I have a 17 year old dog that has gone deaf.
Wed May 15, 2024, 12:41 AM
May 15

She can hear louder sounds like clapping my hands if I am close to her. It's amazing how well she has learned hand signals so quickly. She also responds to certain sequences I clap my hands in.

KS Toronado

(18,268 posts)
9. Always thought my first Doberman understood English
Wed May 15, 2024, 12:44 AM
May 15

People were scared to death of him until they figured out that was his "Come here and pet me bark"
that he used 99.99% of the time, then he had another new friend for life.

Major Nikon

(36,870 posts)
10. Once had a border collie and we had to spell out certain words like B-A-L-L
Wed May 15, 2024, 01:07 AM
May 15

when talking to ourselves. Otherwise he would go ape shit. Then the bastard learned how to spell.


(112,219 posts)
11. So can your cat
Wed May 15, 2024, 01:26 AM
May 15

only you have to convince them it's in their best interest to listen.

Case in point: one of my rescues only seemed to understand "no" until I tried Spanish to ask him if he wanted his dinner or other typically cat oriented things. That cat never learned a single word of English. He reacted dramatically to Spanish.

I just considered myself lucky he didn't learn one of the native languages.

It makes sense. Everything needs to learn a library of sounds to be able to distinguish prey from predator. In addition, some animals, most notably prairie dogs, have a fairly well developed language, describing humans as sex, color of clothing, and whether they look like they are armed. I don't know if they share the FOXP2 gene necessary for language with mice, alligators, songbirds, chimpanzees....and genus homo.


(5,811 posts)
12. My late Pekingese, Rosie, understand directions.
Wed May 15, 2024, 01:26 AM
May 15

I could just say, "Go to the kitchen," or "Go to the family room," and she would go.

Miss her so much!


(33,196 posts)
13. Alex the Wonder Dog learned several words and a few phrases
Wed May 15, 2024, 01:31 AM
May 15

But I never should have used the word 'cookies' for dog biscuits.


(7,302 posts)
14. We spell around the dogs all the time.
Wed May 15, 2024, 01:34 AM
May 15

Or say 'the t-word' for treat, 'c-word' for car....and I'm convinced we're s-a-n-e.


(9,133 posts)
15. I believe it.
Wed May 15, 2024, 02:06 AM
May 15

My dog used to immediately snap to attention if any of us said the words “rabbits” or “squirrels” or “cats”. Or, when I would eat and he would sit beside me getting fed, when all the food was gone I would hold my empty hands up and say “all gone”, he would growl and walk away.


(42,267 posts)
16. One of my favorite internet posts was
Wed May 15, 2024, 02:27 AM
May 15

“Why do I hold my hands out like a blackjack dealer when the treats are all gone?”

I felt seen.


(63,571 posts)
17. Let's not forget that Trump was able to remember five words. Five!
Wed May 15, 2024, 07:34 AM
May 15

Liberal In Texas

(13,923 posts)
18. I believe it. My new dog knows her new name and her nickname. And the word SQUIRIL!
Wed May 15, 2024, 07:44 AM
May 15

She can also be willful and stubborn. If there is something she doesn't want to do she pretends she doesn't hear or doesn't understand.


(16,408 posts)
19. we gad a Irish setter/Golden Retriever mix
Wed May 15, 2024, 08:03 AM
May 15

that would respond to non-verbal communication. I could use thoughts to have her come to me from a different room or to sit/stay, lay down.

She'd get off the couch, pad into the bedroom, look up at me as if to say, "what do you want now idiot?". I've missed her for 50 years.


(25,913 posts)
20. After an alert locking.
Wed May 15, 2024, 09:01 AM
May 15

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