Using various experiments, researchers have been trying to answer this question for more than a year. Recently, thanks to the hard work of scientists from the University of Sussex, it has been possible to obtain new details that bring us closer to unraveling this mystery.
According to New Scientist, representatives of seventy dog breeds took part in a curious study led by Holly Ruth-Gutteridge. Four-legged test subjects alternately included recordings of six monosyllabic words that were not standard canine commands. Voices were not familiar to pets, in addition, some of them sounded with different accents. The results were very impressive.
The first time they heard a simple word (for example, “had”), the dogs focused, turned their ears in the direction of sound. When the word “had” was repeated by other voices, the subjects did not show such interest. Scientists have come to this conclusion: tailed people probably understand that the exact same word just sounded. This makes them the only reliably known animals that can analyze human speech! Well, except for the man himself, of course.
Another interesting study on this topic was conducted by neurophysiologists from the University of Budapest in 2016. Thirteen dogs were placed in an MRI machine (previously they had been trained to calmly lie in such conditions). At this time, their mentors began to communicate with their pets: to praise, scold, speak different words with a suitable or not very appropriate intonation
As a result, it turned out that the dog’s brain perceives speech in much the same way as the human brain: the left hemisphere processes the meaning of words, and the right one evaluates intonation. And if you, for example, speak with a pet with a sweet and approving intonation, and use words unrelated to praise or kindness, he is able to understand that you are not really encouraging him, and something is wrong here.
Of course, there is still no definite answer to whether our younger brothers are able to recognize the meaning of what we said, but the results of our studies already show that dogs actually understand us much more than was commonly believed. Who knows what we can discover in these amazing tetrapods in the future?