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Do Dogs Really Understand Us?

There’s no denying that dogs often appear to know exactly what it is we’re thinking, and are seemingly perfectly attuned to our feelings and intentions. For example, they have an amazing ability to pick up on our emotions, paying close attention to the tone and emotion in our voices. Many sceptics believe that rather than truly understanding what it is we’re saying, it is their ability to cue into the tone of our voices, that lies behind their apparent ability to understand us.

However, according to new research, dogs may, in fact, understand more about what we’re saying than you might think; they may possess the ability to both hear the meaning of speech, and also perceive the emotions behind it too.


The research, which was conducted at the University of Sussex, saw scientists test the abilities of a variety of different dog breeds, from Chihuahuas to Great Danes. The results of the testing revealed that, remarkably, dogs do, in fact, process speech in a similar way to humans. And whilst the researchers cautioned against getting too excited, they do claim that their findings suggest dogs are able to pay attention not only to who we are, and the way we say things, but also to what we’re saying. These results are unlikely to come as a surprise to most dog owners, and is pretty good news for those of us who enjoy speaking to our dogs.

Interestingly, according to these scientists, the key to working out if your dog understands you or not is all in the head tilt. Whilst a right head turn signals they know exactly what it is your telling them, a left head turn suggests they haven’t the foggiest.


Stories such as this highlight just how intelligent our amazing canine friends really are. Here at CK9 Training we’re dog behaviour experts and able to offer a great range of dog training services, perfect for helping your dog to achieve their full potential. So if you’re looking for dog training in Surrey please don’t hesitate to contact us, and a member of our friendly team will be happy to help you with your enquiries.