I recently read the most interesting article. Apparently, studies have shown that your dog actually does understand what you’re saying. Can you imagine, just hanging out with Fido and having a chat about the weather? “Hey boy, no walk today because it is raining” — cue Fido’s sad face.
You’re probably asking yourself as the reader, “Is that possible?” Well, let’s look at what was found and how.
It had already been established that dogs respond to human voices — just look at how well dogs learn words linked to training such as sit and stay. This study found that dogs use the same region of the brain as humans do to process language. To see how this works inside the canine brain, researchers were able to train a group of 13 dogs to sit still for a full seven minutes inside of an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) scanner to measure their brain activity. The main difference between a traditional MRI and this is that the fMRI looks at blood flow in the brain to detect areas of activity, versus creating images of organs and tissues like an MRI.
The dogs processed words they heard regularly, just like a human does with the left side of their brain. The tone of the words was processed by the right side of the brain. The researchers concluded that words and tone should match for the best result when chatting it up with Fido.
So, humans, you may think we are unique and special but, dog brains are dealing with language the same way we do. The difference? We came up using words and dogs didn’t. Yet, this hasn’t stopped them from learning!
Happy Spring! Be sure to get out there and have fun with your pooch!