Do dogs understand when you talk to them?

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.

Consider how your dog wags its tail joyfully when you praise it. Do dogs understand what people say, or is it a combination of several things? It seems obvious that they understand what you’re saying, but is it really what you’re saying or how you’re saying it? And what about your body language when you speak to your pup?

According to many scientists, dogs can comprehend what people are saying and can pick up on the meaning of a wide variety of words. Others believe that rather than what people say, it’s more about how they say it and how they say it. Dogs, however, also interpret human body language in a variety of ways. Your dog can most likely understand what you’re saying by utilizing a combination of all three factors.

Understanding how dogs and humans communicate is a subject of ongoing research. For now, it seems clear that dogs pick up a lot of human communication by listening to and observing their human companions.

Canine Language Capabilities

The majority of dog owners will concur that their dogs can understand words. Say, “Sit” and your dog will collapse upon his haunches. He will rush to the door and grab his leash as soon as you say, “Let’s go for a walk.” When you say, “It’s time to eat,” he will go to the food bowl. We assume that dogs learn to associate particular words with particular actions or objects because they appear to comprehend the words “sit,” “walk,” and “eat.”

Our dogs may understand what we’re saying, but that’s only one aspect of the situation. How we say it impacts how much a dog comprehends. In an effort to comprehend humans, dogs interpret both body language and spoken language. There are disagreements over the relative contributions of each (what we say and how we say it) in canine communication.

Some people believe that the way we say something may be more significant than the content. Dogs interpret our body language and tone more so than our actual words. They pay close attention to us and look for physical cues that might indicate what we want them to do or not do. They watch our facial expressions, posture, and body movements. They listen to the tone of our voice. They combine all of these observations to determine our meaning.

Your dog will likely wag his tail and prance around with enthusiasm if you smile and say, “Let’s go for a walk!” He might cower and whine if you say those same words in a stern voice and with a frown on your face.

These findings led many scientists to believe that dogs respond to language in a way that is similar to how infant humans do. In fact, dogs might be roughly cognitively equivalent to a 6–12-month-old human infant. Think about this. When trying to pick up a crumb off the floor and put it in their mouths, both a dog and a human baby quickly understand what “NO!” means. Do they actually understand the difference between “yes” and “no,” or do they just comply with our stern demeanor and commanding voice?

Both dogs and babies will associate certain words with certain objects or actions with repetition. Could it be a combination of learned vocabulary and observation of body language and tone? Therefore, we repeatedly command the dog to “Sit” while encouraging the dog to do so. Eventually he associates the word with the action. We also refer to the dog as “dog” while pointing to our baby for this reason. Eventually, the young human learns that the name of this furry creature is “dog.”

Despite the fact that most scientists concur that dogs can understand certain words, some think they cannot understand complete sentences. They consider the expression “trees, birds, grass, walk” to have the same connotation as “let’s go for a walk.” Even though the dog might not understand every word, he understands “walk.” Body language, tone, and words are all part of effective canine communication, and if you say those words enthusiastically in a sweet voice, your dog will run for the front door.

Despite a limited vocabulary, dogs and babies communicate with us. Despite not having the ability to speak, they can still “speak” back to us. Their coos, cries, and whines, combined with their distinct body language, help us understand them despite their limited vocabulary.

Now let’s focus on what we say. According to some scientists, dogs can comprehend the true meaning of many words regardless of how they are spoken. Here’s how this theory took root.

Researchers trained dogs to lie in an MRI machine. While conversing with the dogs, the scientists kept an eye on their brain activity. They learned that dogs process language much like humans do. The right side of the brain interprets intonation, while the left side processes word meaning. Like humans, dogs combine the two cognitive functions to produce a clearer meaning.

No matter how words are spoken, some dogs’ left sides of their brains fully activate. Case in point—Rico. Rico, a border collie, was highlighted in a 2004 Science Magazine article because he could “fast map” new words. Rico learned the names of over 200 different items. He had the ability to understand a word’s meaning after only hearing it once, much like young children do when they are developing their language skills. Rico also remembered the words’ meanings four weeks after learning them. This demonstrates the dog’s remarkable capacity to learn words without regard to intonation.

Dogs are capable of problem-solving. Dogs are capable of determining the quickest route to a favorite toy or treat. They can learn how to use latches and buttons to open doors and enter rooms that are locked. Some dogs can learn to count and do simple arithmetic.

Experts find that dogs recognize important words. In some cases, the dog responds to the word itself. In other instances, dogs are able to read human body language and voice tones in addition to verbal cues. When you say the word “walk” while also grabbing their leash, a dog who ignores it when you say it into the phone will become excited. ‌.

According to some dog behavior experts, the average dog has intelligence on par with a human toddler. Dogs can understand between 100 and 200 words, comparable to a child of two. They can distinguish between verbal and physical gestures used to convey commands. ‌.

Most dogs can pick up quite a few verbal commands, even if they never fully understand most of what you say to them. Researchers have examined dogs to determine whether they understand words or if they react to voice inflections and context clues. Learn more about how much your dog can understand.

Every dog owner is aware that certain words will cause their dog to become extremely excited. Your dog might rush to the door when you say, “Let’s go for a walk,” anticipating a short stroll around the block. Certain words, like “walk,” seem to be so intuitive to some dogs that their owners must spell them rather than speak them out loud. ‌.

Dogs Also Read Body Language

People use body language to convey information to other people in the same way that dogs do. Your dog can pick up on cues from gestures, your body language, and other factors. Dogs can discern human emotional facial expressions, according to a study.

Dogs’ brains resemble human brains in many ways, including the ability to dream while they are asleep. Therefore, your dog will probably sense your stress if you are holding a tense posture. Your dog will perceive that you are at ease, in a good mood, etc. if you project a relaxed and comfortable body language.


Do dogs like when you talk to them?

Talking strengthens relationships because people can read our emotions, carry out our instructions, and predict our needs. It’s just another reason why we adore them so much. According to research, talking to dogs in dog-directed speech actually encourages them to spend more time with us, which is beneficial.

What do dogs hear when we talk to them?

The women spoke to the dogs in distinctive, high-pitched, sing-song tones, as was expected, but not to the humans, according to the scientists, who compared the human- and dog-directed speech. No matter if the dog was a puppy or an adult, according to Mathevon,

Do dogs listen to what you say?

According to a study, dogs react to human speech similarly to humans. When we listen to someone talk, we hear sounds that make words and sounds that indicate the speaker’s emotions and gender, among other things.

Do dogs understand I love you?

They will learn to recognize your words and tone and comprehend the love you have for them, especially if you tell them frequently. Your dog will comprehend it as long as you are demonstrating your love and affection for them. They will appreciate it if you occasionally throw in an extra belly rub or treat, though!