It may be that, for similar reasons, dogs have evolved to respond meaningfully to human vocal lines throughout evolution. Indeed, in relationships with a dog, a person often refers to this ability of her. It is voice commands most often used by trainers and ordinary dog owners to get the desired behavior from their four-legged friends.
The bond between the owner and the dog is not just walking or buying leather leashes and collars, it is a special emotional connection.
These animals are so receptive to the sounds that we make that many dog owners are convinced that their pets, just like people, understand everything they are told word for word. So how many words does a dog know?
Table of Contents
How Many Words Can a Dog Learn?
Canadian professor Stanley Koren, an expert in animal psychology, says that with sequential training, a dog can learn an average of 160 words. But for some, this is far from the limit.
The general public’s interest in canine intelligence grew in 2001. Then a border collie Rico appeared on a TV show and proved to the audience that he knew more than 200 different words. Further research at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology found that Riko remembers the words he has learned, even if he has been waiting to hear them for over a month.
Words dogs understand can be associated with a particular object or action best. So, for example, an animal will remember the command “sit” or the word “ball” faster than “love” or “cloud”, even if it hears them more often.
When it comes to dog intelligence, everything is relative. A lot depends on the breed. Rico and Chaser were border collies. Along with the Poodle, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and Doberman, the breed is in the top ten smartest, according to Stanley Koran.
It’s mostly about learning ability. It will be much more challenging to teach a Caucasian Shepherd Dog or a Greyhound to separate words. These breeds are smart in their way and the best in the business for which they were bred, but they are difficult to train and are not inclined to unquestioning obedience, so their mental abilities are more difficult to assess.
Dog’s Perception of Human Speech
In 2016, Hungarian scientists from Loranda University in Budapest examined a dog’s brain using an MRI machine. This made it possible to note the striking similarity of the dog and man in processing emotionally colored sounds. Dogs’ brains were more active when the owner’s speech was positive. For example, if “cookie” was spoken enthusiastically, the dog reacted violently. She immediately saw the opportunity to get a treat.
The dog showed no such interest when the word “cookie” was spoken with indifference or reproach. In addition, it was possible to establish that the subjects are more sensitive to extraneous stimulus sounds, the slightest rustles, changes in breathing, and the like. They are processed by about 48% of the sensitive area of the brain, while in humans, only 3%.
From this, we can conclude that dog vocabulary words is rather high, but the ability to read intonation, gestures, and facial expressions also helps them comprehend a person.
List of Words Dogs Understand
Dog vocabulary includes numerous words from the speech of their owners. But some of these words they adore!
Over 4,000 dog owners were interviewed to determine which words are most often used concerning dogs. And then, the researchers analyzed the canine pulse at the moment when they heard these words.
So, what words can dogs understand and what words accelerate the pulse of our pets:
- “Walk!” Well, who would doubt? Take a lether collar and go. When a dog hears this cherished word, its pulse quickens to 156 beats per minute. While at rest, it is usually between 70 and 120 beats.
- “Food”, “go eat”, “eat”, etc. Of course, it is impossible to remain calm when it comes to food! 152 beats per minute are made by the dog’s heart at these sounds.
- “Yummy”. The dogs also do not refuse such an offer, and their pulse accelerates to 151 beats.
- “You can”, “come on” (and other permissive commands). 150 beats per minute, when the owner finally allows you to do something the dog wants.
- “Aport”. Hooray! You can run and play! The dog rejoices, and her pulse is 147 beats per minute.
- “Toy”. And nothing is surprising here: dogs love games. Therefore, when the owner asks to bring a toy, the pet is excited up to 144 strokes.
- “Good boy / good girl.” Everyone loves praise, and dogs are no exception! Therefore, as many as 139 beats per minute.
- It is worth calling a pet by name as its pulse quickens to 128 beats.
- “Search!” This call can also be attributed to the category of games. You best dog can search for a braided leather collar or something else. 124 strokes – and the dog is ready to search.