You probably talk to your dog all the time anyway, but you’ll be comforted to know they can actually understand human speech!

Scientists used brain scans on dogs and learned that as well as understanding what we say, our furry friends can understand how we say it.

Published in the journal Science, the research found that, just like humans, dogs use the left side of the brain to process meaning and the right side to process emotion.

Dr Attila Andics said of the study: “It is mainly the left hemisphere’s job to process word meaning, and the right hemisphere’s job to process intonation [the rise and fall of the voice while speaking]. The human brain not only separately analyses what we say and how we say it, but also integrates the two types of information, to arrive at a unified meaning.”

He added: “Our findings suggest that dogs can also do all that, and they use very similar brain mechanisms.”

Yes, this changes everything!


While conducting the research, scientists studied the blood flow in the brains of 13 dogs lying on an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) machine. Meanwhile, the animals were listening to positive phrases like “good boy”, “clever”, and “well done” both in an upbeat and neutral tone.

The positive words spoken in a cheery voice made their brains’ reward centres light up! So we guess that means that no matter how excited you sound when telling your pet they’re going to the vet, they’re gonna know something’s up.