Dogs have advanced word perception, study suggests

Illustrative photo

The perception of words by dogs has long been underestimated. A study shows that our 4-legged friends are able to hear and recognize expressions despite their variations, such as speaker or accent.

Each study on the cognitive abilities of the dog further strengthens our admiration for this wonderful being. And we still have so much to discover about them. The one published this Wednesday, December 4 in the journal Biology Letters follows the same logic.

It was carried out by Holly Root-Gutteridge , a specialist in cognitive biology at the University of Sussex , located near Brighton (South of England), and her team of researchers. Their work discovered that dogs could perceive and recognize words even when they were characterized by variations , such as the change of speaker, intonation or accent.

Root-Gutteridge and his colleagues analyzed the reactions of 70 dogs of different breeds to which 6 words were played by various people (of both sexes, of various ages and with various accents). These expressions, the animals did not know them until then, and were distinguished from each other only by the vowels .

In 69% of the cases (48 dogs out of 70), the canines “ reacted when the same speaker said a new word or when the same word was said by another speaker ”, and this, from the first listening. An ability Holly Root-Gutteridge attributes to the domestication of the dog by humans, since animals most attentive to human sounds were more likely to be retained for breeding .

Read also: Passionate about animals, a Douaisienne devotes her career to helping owners and their dog to live in harmony

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