We're going to dive right into the subject and see what observation, science and dog owners themselves have to say on the subject.
Signs You Dog Understands Communication
Cues like pointing, direction of gaze, and hidden treats are all means of communicating that dogs are able to follow. Your pup may even stare at you if more information is needed to understand what is being asked. Studies have even shown that as dogs get older, their success at understanding human cues gets better.
Although dogs are not able to communicate with humans through talking, there are other ways our pups communicate with us! And that being said, they do mimic us as closely as they can.
- Head tilting
- Brightened Eyes
- A Wrinkled Forehead
- Running Towards Something of Interest
The Science Behind Talking Dogs
Simply put, a human hears their pup making a sound that we recognize as a word or phrase. The human proceeds to say the "phrase" back to their dog, who then repeats the sound and is rewarded (with treats and "good boys"). Eventually, the dog has learned a modified version of the original sound that was made.
Although dogs are not able to communicate with humans through speech, studies have shown that dogs are able to communicate with humans through growls and barks. For example, a growl let out during a game of tug-of-war is shorter than a growl let out when facing a threat.
In one study, forty volunteers listened to recordings of different growls. These recordings were from 18 different dogs that were guarding their food, facing a threat, or playing a tug-of-war game. The volunteers were able to correctly identify 63% of the growl samples - significantly more than would be expected by simply guessing.
Even further, the volunteers correctly identified 81% of the play-time growls but were less good at recognizing the food-guarding and threat-facing growls. These results indicate that humans are able to understand, and ultimately, appropriately respond to the vocal noises that come from dogs.
Training Your Dog to Talk
Looking at technological advancement trends, some believe that in at least 10 years we may have a translator for our pooches. Although still in the early stages, researchers believe they will be able to take thousands of videos of dog behaviors to teach artificial intelligence specific algorithms to recognize human interpretations of the communications.
There are still big differences between human and dog cognition, so we may not be able to fully understand one another. But that doesn't mean we won't be able to forge a stronger bond with our pets. Soon enough, you may really know just how much Skipper loves you.
How to React to Dogs "Talking":
Smile back at your pup!
Reassure your pup with lots of praise and treats.
Encourage playful talking.
Do your best to be patient and try to understand what your pup is asking from you.