Dog blog

“He knows exactly what I’m saying……………”

Dogs in MRI scanner


Well, perhaps he really does.  In a University in Budapest, dogs were trained to lie still in an MRI scanner so that scientists could study how dogs process speech.  And, it has been found that they do it in a similar way to us.  Meaningful words like “good boy” activate the left side of the dog’s brain regardless of tone of voice, while a region on the right side of the brain responds to intonation.

Dogs make great candidates for testing speech processing because of their close relationship with humans.  Our dogs hear us say lots of words and phrases every day.  Humans stand out in their ability to use language, to manipulate sequences of sounds to give meaning.  But the new findings suggest that the ability to hear these arbitrary sequences of sounds and link them to meaning isn’t a uniquely human ability.

Certainly my dogs seem to know lots of words and phrases! “Ball” is their favourite one!  But they also know when I’m talking about going to bed, going out, letting them out in the garden and will respond to what I’ve said even before I move.  In my training classes, often I’ll say something like “ask your dogs to Down” and many regular dogs will drop straight into a Down before their owners ask, but because they’ve heard me say it!!!  We’d love to hear from you to tell us about the language that your dog knows?

You can watch the video of the research lab here too………..