Dog Facts

Do dogs understand what we are talking to them?


Dogs can figure out the gist of what we want to say and gather a lot of information from the tone of voice, the rhythm of our voice and intonation of speech; They may not hang on our every word, but they do listen.

Dogs are ready, willing and able to learn to communicate with humans. The average dog can learn about 165 words. Dogs watch and study human behavior; dogs know when you are talking to them. A dog, by observing your eyes, can see whether you’re looking at him, which starts the communication process between a person and a dog. Dogs don’t do this with each other; they do this only with humans.

A dog understands that when a person points to an object, he or she is helping him find something; This is another form of talking that dogs understand by watching humans. Dogs can understand our tone of voice and listen to intonation cues in our words to get a general idea of what we are trying to get across to them. Tone of voice reflects the attitude or emotional mood of the person speaking; intonation is the fluctuation in our words; there are 2 different parts of language.

When we speak, our tone tells someone how we are feeling; intonation is how we express our words with the upward or downward movement of sound. An upward intonation is how the voice reses at the end of a sentence; A downward intonation is how the voice goes down at the end of a sentence.

When making a positive statement, the intonation cue is usually higher to signal that the intent of the sentence means you’re happy; the intonation cues in a negative statement take a lower pitch and reflect sadness. Understanding the difference between the two is important when giving commands to your dog, and it can impact his understanding of what you expect from him.

If your dog doesn’t seem to understand what a command means, it could be he is confused because you aren’t saying it in right tone of voice or with the appropriate intonation cues. How you use speech and tone of voice to convey what you want helps him understand.

Elements of language are processed in the left hemisphere, and emotional connotation is processed in the right hemisphere of the brain. Study doesn’t prove dogs have a complete understanding of all the emotional parts of speech, but they do pay attention to what we say and can hear the meaning of human speech and the emotion within it.