Most dog owners will admit that they like to talk to their pooch, and guess what? It turns out new research shows your dog may actually understand what you’re saying.
Hungarian researchers actually scanned volunteer dogs’ brains to determine whether they comprehend what is spoken to them. The tests showed that, similar to humans, when being spoken to by a trainer, the dog processed words with the left side of the brain, while intonation was processed on the right.
And while you may think your dog is getting excited by the tone of your voice, not the words you speak, this study seems to prove that both actually matter. When being praised, dogs in the study only registered cognition in both areas of the brain when both the words and tone were positive. If the person said something meaningful, the dog’s left side lit up, as if they were processing the words and when the trainer said meaningless things, the dog’s right hemisphere seemed to be working to try and understand what the person was saying.
“Dog brains care about both what we say and how we say it,” lead researcher Attila Andics, a neuroscientist at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, explains. “Praise can work as a reward only if both word meaning and intonation match.”
Source: New York Post