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You might think that you dog it understands every word you say to it, but they probably don’t depend on every word you say, a new study has found.

Despite their “human-like” auditory abilities to interpret speech sounds, dogs don’t hear the subtle differences between words the way humans do, a team of researchers has found.

Words are made up of speech sounds that, if modified, alter all meaning; for example, “dog” can become “dig.”

Your dog can’t really understand what you’re saying, new research suggests. (CNN)

Researchers at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest measured the brain activity of the family dogs using a technique called electroencephalography, which involved sticking electrodes on the animals’ heads.

The researchers interpreted the dogs with recorded command words they knew (such as “sit”), similar but nonsensical words (“sut”), and then very different nonsense words (“bep”).

The experts found that the dogs, who had not been specifically trained for the experiment, could quickly and clearly distinguish the difference between known words of instruction and very different nonsense words.

“Brain activity is different when they hear instructions, which they know, and very different nonsense words, which means that dogs recognize these words,” study lead author Lilla Magyari told CNN.

However, the animals did not pay attention to small differences between familiar words and similar sounding nonsense words.

Instead, the canine study subjects processed them as the same word, Dr. Magyari, a postdoctoral researcher in the ethology department at Eötvös Loránd University, told CNN.

The animals did not pay attention to the small differences between familiar words and nonsense words that sound similar. (Getty Images / iStockphoto)

Dogs are renowned for their hearing and ability to hear words and sounds well, Dr. Magyari said, and they are able to differentiate between the sounds of speech.

“But it seems like they don’t really pay attention to all speech sounds,” he said, adding that further research could explain why.

“They may just not realize that all the details, the speech sounds, are really important in human speech. If you think of a normal dog: that dog is capable of learning only a few instructions in its life,” said.

While our canine companions may not recognize all the nuances, Dr. Magyari said the study also confirmed that dogs actually hear human speech, as previous studies suggest, and not just respond to familiar humans or body language. .

“It really shows that dogs can tell the words they know from nonsense words,” he said, noting that the family dogs recorded brain activity even when hearing words of instruction delivered by an unfamiliar voice, delivered through a loudspeaker. .

Photo by Annett Mirsberger

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