AUG 13, 2017 7:14 AM PDT

Does my dog understand me?


Being a dog owner myself I am of the opinion that YES, OF COURSE MY DOG UNDERSTANDS ME! But what are the actual scientific opinions on the matter?

There have been several studies to delve into this field of research. One such study from the University of Sussex played sounds out of speakers on both sides of a dog. When the dog heard commands that did not have emotional tones in them, the dog turned its head to the right. This suggests that the dog processes verbal meaning - literally just the word or words - in the left hemisphere of its brain. On the contrary, when the dog heard sounds full of emotion but with jumbled words, it turned its head to the left. This suggests that the dog processes emotion in its right hemisphere. This means that in general dogs are able to separate the meaning and emotion of words; but do they really understand the meaning of words put together?

No definitive yes or no has been established to answer this question but it's likely that it depends on the individual. Dogs may also experience selective hearing and understanding, which we all know is a human characteristic, too! To learn more about you and your dog's connection from a scientific viewpoint, watch the video!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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