Mind-Blowing Study Reveals: Your Dog Really Does Get What You’re Saying!

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Recent research has revealed that dogs possess the ability to associate words with specific mental representations or ideas, akin to human cognitive processes.

study on dogs

A Collaborative Discovery

In a pioneering study conducted by researchers in Hungary and Norway, the cognitive abilities of dogs to link words to objects were explored.

By having dog owners present toys while playing corresponding audio recordings, researchers observed the dogs’ brain reactions when the visual and auditory cues matched or differed.

Key Findings

Marianna Boros of Eötvös Loránd University’s Neuroethology of Communication Lab in Hungary, highlighted that dogs showed distinct brain responses when there was a mismatch between the spoken word and the object shown, similar to observations in human studies.

This phenomenon underscores the capability of dogs to form mental links between words and objects, rather than merely responding to contextual clues.

Lilla Magyari, another leading researcher on the project, emphasized the significance of these findings, suggesting that dogs do not simply react to the context but understand the referential meaning of words.

dogs understand words

The Study’s Approach and Implications

Employing techniques used in infant cognition studies, the research involved dogs watching their owners through a window as they were shown toys, with some mismatches intentionally created.

This setup allowed researchers to infer that dogs anticipate seeing the object named by their owner, and discrepancies led to notable changes in brain activity.

Despite the study’s contributions to understanding canine cognition, the researchers acknowledge its limitations and the need for further research to unravel the origins of this linguistic comprehension in dogs.


This groundbreaking study, set for publication in Current Biology, offers valuable insights into the depth of dogs’ integration into the human socio-linguistic environment and their potential for language skills similar to humans, marking a significant step in cognitive science.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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