Most of us dog owners shouldn’t be surprised to know that dogs understand the tone of voice we use. It’s very obvious that a dog understands tone; think about how Fido cocks his head when you ask “Do you want a treat?” or “Do you want to go for a walk?” Honestly, though, I never thought that dogs really understood much more than tone of voice when we speak to them. However, a team of scientists recently published a paper in the journal Science, in which they revealed that dogs understand both words and tone!
What’s amazing to me about this study is that the researchers were able to train dogs to lay perfectly still for hours, while undergoing fMRI‘s. The idea that any dog could be trained to be still for that long is astounding. It is interesting to note that the dog in the photo for the study is a Golden Retriever, a highly trainable breed that is very willing to please. I don’t think the researchers could have encouraged a wiggly fox terrier to lay quiet for hours!