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HOOZAGOODBOY? – Can Dogs Really Understand Us?

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After asking, ”Who’s a good dog?“ and cooing, “I wuv you, yes, yes I do!“ multiple times a day, it’s possible you’ve questioned the extent to which your dog even understands you – and also your own sanity.

But we have some good news: a recent study at a university in Budapest has concluded that not only can dogs understand human speak, but they can register the difference between genuine or meaningless language (ABC News).

Source: Huffington Post

The study found that just like humans, the left hemisphere of a dog’s brain is “involved in processing meaningful words” and emotion, whereas the right side primarily processes tone and meaning (Huffington Post). During the study, 13 different dog breeds sat in an fMRI scanner to register their brain activity while their owners spoke to them.

The study’s pup-ticipants were exposed to a mix of genuine praise and neutral phrases, followed by neutral speech in a praising tone, and praise in a neutral tone. The results concluded that it was only when both sides of the brain agreed – or in other words, that familiar language matched up with the appropriate tone – that dogs were satisfied (Independent). Dogs could also tell when their owners were not being genuine with approvals (i.e. using neutral tones when giving praise).

The doc-in-charge concluded, “The human brain not only separately analyses what we say and how we say it, but also integrates the two types of information, to arrive at a unified meaning. Our findings suggest that dogs can also do all that.”

So, next time you tell your dog that they’ve been a good boy or girl, make sure you mean it – they can tell the difference.


Source: The Dog Styler

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