Dogs understand more than you think

Dogs understand more than you think. Credit: Creative Commons

New research suggests that dogs are not only clever enough to follow simple commands like “sit” and “stay”, but they can also understand words related to their favourite toys, such as “fetch the ball”.

A study conducted in Hungary discovered that dogs could learn to link words with specific objects, a skill called referential understanding. This means that when dogs hear the name of an object, they can conjure up a mental image of it in their minds. This suggests a deeper level of language comprehension than previously thought possible for dogs, similar to how humans understand language.

Dogs reacted to words.

The research, which was published in the science journal “Current Biology” and involved 18 dogs, used a non-invasive EEG procedure to measure brain activity. Dog owners played audio clips saying the names of their dog’s toys, then showed the corresponding objects. The study found that dogs reacted differently in their brain patterns when the object matched the word compared to when it didn’t, indicating an understanding of the words.

While some experts have praised the study, others remain sceptical. Professor Clive Wynne from Arizona State University believes that the study only demonstrates dogs’ ability to respond to stimuli, rather than truly understanding the meaning of specific words.

Overall, the research sheds new light on dogs’ language comprehension abilities, suggesting that they may have an innate capacity to understand words without the need for special training. However, the exact origins of this skill in dogs remain uncertain, despite their long history of companionship with humans.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

Julian Phillips

Born in the UK, has lived in 9 countries, before finally coming to Spain in 2015. Currently living in Almeria and working out of the EWN office in Mojacar.