New Study Finds That Dogs Can Understand Words for Objects

Photo by Camilo Fierro on Unsplash

According to a new study published in the journal Current Biology, our dogs understand us better than we thought. Through a series of experiments, the authors of the study found that dogs can recognize words for objects.

Eighteen dog owners and their pets participated in the research, which took place at Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary. The owners were required to bring along five objects that they believed their dogs knew the best. Some items included slippers, balls, and Frisbees.

As part of the experiment, the owners were required to say the name of the object before showing it as the same object or a different one to their dog. These situations were repeated a number of times, with a mix of correct and incorrect objects, while the brain activity of the dogs was monitored.

The researchers found that dog’s brain activity was different when they were met with a correct object as opposed to being shown an incorrect object. The difference was more pronounced when it was an object that the dogs were particularly familiar with.

“I think the capacity is there in all dogs,” Marianna Boros, one of the authors, told the Guardian. “This changes our understanding of language evolution and our sense of what is uniquely human.”