For dog owners, thinking, “If only my dog could talk to me!” is a common refrain. And while it may be a while before we figure out a way to get Fido to gab in a way that’s intelligible to human ears, new research shows that not only can dogs differentiate between other sounds and human speech, but they may be able to differentiate between different languages, too.
A new study published in the journal NeuroImage shows that dogs may be able to distinguish between human speech and non-human speech, as well as differentiate between languages. In the study, dogs were placed in an MRI machine where their brain activity was monitored, and then they were read a story in Hungarian and in Spanish; the dogs also heard a recording that was a computer-generated scramble of language. The dogs in the study were familiar with Hungarian or Spanish.
The results showed that dogs were cognizant of when they were hearing human language—either Spanish or Hungarian, regardless of which they were familiar with—compared to the computer-generated garble. When dogs heard a language they were familiar with, their brains also lit up, indicating that dogs can recognize human language and the human language they’re most familiar with.
The reason that dogs are likely to understand the language they’re most familiar with is because we train dogs in the language that we speak, and dogs are also exposed to the language of their humans all of the time. Dogs as a species have lived alongside humans for hundreds of years, potentially giving them an advantage over other species when it comes to understanding language. In fact, dogs are the first non-human animal to show the ability to distinguish between languages.
New technology and advanced training tools are even allowing some dogs to “talk.” Dogs can be trained to push recordable dog training buttons that let you know exactly what they want, from food to going outside to taking a walk and more.
While your dog may not be ready to speak, chances are they are ready for some great training. Training is stimulating for dogs and helps them understand expectations, and also brings peace of mind for you. If you want to learn more about dog training opportunities, call Happy Pup Manor today. We offer multiple training programs based on your pup’s needs.