If I Talk to My Dog Like It’s a Human, Will It Understand Me?

If Dogs Had a Superpower, It Would be Hearing and Understanding!

If you are one of the millions of dog owners who enjoy talking to your dog, and who at times feel like they understand you better than most human beings can, you may have wondered just how much he really understands? We all know that dogs have a keen sense of hearing and hear better than we do. Dogs hear nearly twice as many frequencies as humans. They can hear sounds in ranges humans cannot, and they can also detect sounds at farther distances, and with greater accuracy, than humans can. This is the trait that probably first caught the attention of ancient man and made them attempt to befriend these wild dogs, who were so much better at hunting and tracking than they were. But what about dogs today?

Even Though Our Dogs Can Hear Better Than We Can, Do They Understand What They’re Hearing?

“Two studies, one published in the journal Current Biology and the other in Science, conclude that the answer is yes! Your dog might not understand everything you say, but he listens and pays attention similar to the way humans do. The researchers discovered that dogs — like humans — respond not only to the words we say to them, but also to the emotional tone of our voices” (McCormick). The studies also went on to show that humans and canines listen to speech similarly. They focus on what is said, the words said, the tone of voice used, and other nonverbal cues that are also given. Humans use all of these elements to determine what someone is saying and what they mean by those words, and it is now believed that dogs process the words we say to them in much the same way. This is similarly as revealing as the two hemispheres of the canine brain, which many had not realized before – they are divided and operate in much the same way as our brains. Dogs have left brained and right brained processes and strengths.

Humans and Canines are Both Lefties When it Comes to Language Processing and Understanding

“In humans, the left hemisphere of the brain tackles most verbal processing — the what we say part. Speech using exaggerated, positive vocal inflection — the how we say it part — is processed in the right hemisphere. The dogs in the study demonstrated that they listen the same way, an ability that was once believed to be unique to humans” (McCormick). This is thought to help explain why dogs seem to be receptive to emotions and feelings. We can say “Hi boy” in 5 different ways, and their reaction can be 5 different things, because they are picking up on tone, pitch, and outward nonverbal clues, such as body language and facial expressions. This is a very human-like trait many felt canines possessed but that was not previously proven!

Good Listeners Make for Great Companions and That is Why Dogs Are Man’s Best Friends!

The research has been a major victory for animal lovers and has given credence to those who enjoy talking to their four-legged friends. They are not at a human level of comprehension, and your dog lacks the brain power or structure to ever be able to respond with verbal words as we can, but they are listening to you. Fiddo may not understand every word that you say to him, but he is focused on both the content of the conversation and the underlying emotional tone. He may not understand that you had a rough day at work and that you hate your boss, but he will know you are sad, upset, angry, and in need of love because of the words you said, how you said them, and the emotions you are showing along with those words. He understands you just as well as any human does, it is just in a slightly different way than humans do!