Science confirms what dog owners have always thought: your dog understands you when you talk to him. A team of scientists has studied for the first time how the brain of dogs interprets human speech. The results show that man's best friend is concerned about what we say and how we say it, especially when we congratulate them.
To understand speech, the human brain divides the tasks: the left hemisphere is responsible for the meaning of the words and the right allows interpreting intonation. Thus we analyze separately what we say of how we say it to arrive at a joint meaning. But this ability is not unique in the human being.
The left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for the meaning of the words and the right allows to interpret the intonation
A study, published in Science This week, he suggests that dogs' brains work in the same way to distinguish words and intonation. "They use brain mechanisms that are very similar to humans," says Attila Andics, lead author of the work and scientist in the Department of Ethology and the MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology research group at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest (Hungary).
Thus, dogs, like people, use the left hemisphere to understand the vocabulary of words and a region of the right hemisphere for intonation. For scientists, if human speech is very present in the dog's environment, representations of word meaning may arise in your brain, even in the case of non-primate mammals such as dogs that are not able to speak.
"Dogs use brain mechanisms very similar to humans"
“Dogs can learn the words that are relevant to them and often used by their owners to address them. The words to congratulate them are an example ”, emphasizes Sinc Anna Gábor, one of the authors of the work and researcher at the Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary.
This is the first study that analyzes the neuronal background of this process in dogs, although for years scientists from different parts of the world have carried out various experiments to demonstrate the ability of dogs to recognize the different components of speech.
"Dogs can learn the words that are relevant to them and often used by their owners to address them"
“But until now we did not know much about the brain mechanisms of dogs and that these were similar to those of the human to understand the words. It remains to be documented how these animals separate and integrate lexical and intonation information in spoken words, ”says Gábor.
Better understanding for compliments
According to the researchers, the study is the first step in understanding how dogs interpret human speech. To do this, they trained 13 dogs that remained motionless to perform a brain MRI. The scientists were able to measure the brain activity of each dog by listening to the words of their trainer (praise or meaningless to them, combining intonations of praise or neutral).
When searching for regions of the brain that distinguished words with meaning and those that did not, and congratulations or neutral intonations, scientists realized that dogs prefer to use their left hemisphere to process words and that these brain activations were independent of intonation, which is activated in the right hemisphere.
The scientists trained 13 dogs to remain motionless on the brain MRI scanner
The study also indicates that in pets it is praise that activates the dog's reward system - the brain region that responds to all kinds of pleasurable stimuli such as food, sex, or petting - only when words and intonation of praise agree.
“Dogs combine both for a correct interpretation of speech and what those words really mean. Once again, the process is very similar to that of humans, ”says Andics.
On the origin human speech
For scientists, this work not only improves communication and cooperation between dogs and humans, but also sheds light on the appearance of words during the evolution of language. "What really makes words unique to humans is not our special neuronal capacity, but our ingenuity to invent and use them," says the lead author.
The Hungarian team suggests that the neural mechanisms to understand words evolved much earlier than previously thought, and reveals that they are not unique to the human brain. Possibly during domestication, selective forces supported the appearance of the brain structure that underlies this ability in dogs, but given the rapid evolution of hemispheric asymmetries related to speech, it is actually unlikely. "Human beings are only unique in their ability to invent words," the authors conclude.
1. Well socialized puppy, adult dog without problems
A psychically healthy dog is born, but it is also made. Although it has a genetic load that will influence the fact of being more or less nervous, more or less sociable with the people and animals that surround it, in its way of being and its character will also influence, and much, the fact that it is born Healthy and stay with your mother and siblings until two months of age. In this way, the dog can complete its socialization process. This implies that the puppy learns to relate to his peers in a proper way.
2. The dog adapts well to its human family
Once the dog begins living with its owners, it is normal for it to adapt gradually and without complications to the dynamics of the home where it lives, both at home hours, including food, and daily walks. The dog must also adapt to the space of his home. It is not the same to live in an apartment of 70 square meters, than in a villa with a garden.
A well socialized dog is happy and fully adapted to its surroundings
On the other hand, the dog must also learn to live with a certain family, which can be composed of children, elderly people and other animals. In short, the dog must make a great adaptive effort to the human environment where he has to live. A sign that it has a balanced character goes through checking that the adaptation process evolves properly and without problems.
3. The dog interacts without problems with other people
When the dog has behavioral problems, it is common for him to bite or grunt the people in the house or to be tolerant and sociable only with the family and not with visitors. In this situation, it is understood that the dog is not well trained in its social facet and may not occupy the right place in the family hierarchy. This translates into: "I send here and nobody is going to tell me what I have to do."
A well socialized dog is able to interact with people around him and strangers without problems
A well socialized dog is able to interact with people around him and strangers without problems or confrontations that prevent a adequate coexistence. Miguel Ibáñez, a professor at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Complutense University of Madrid and an expert in animal behavior, explains that, for a dog to be fully socialized, "he must be well educated, enjoy both physical and mental well-being and be able to comply certain basic rules of behavior so that its owners can have control over it. "
4. The dog is properly related to other animals
The fact that the dog is related without tensions and fluently with other animals, be they of the same species or another, is a sign that it is a well socialized animal. If a dog lives with another dog or with a cat, living together does not have to be inappropriate.
The aggressions, the continuous fights or the complicated and tense coexistence, motivated because the dog does not tolerate the presence of other animals, especially if they have lived with them from the beginning, it is an indicator that the pet can suffer some disorder due to a inadequate socialization.
5. The dog has no problems to tolerate the absence of their owners
A well socialized dog without behavioral problems should be able to assume the momentary absence of their owners. The fact that the people with whom the animal lives go to work, among others, should not become a drama.
The dog that for only a few hours barks compulsively, destroys the furniture and becomes very nervous, suffers from separation anxiety. In this case, the veterinarian may expose the owners to certain action guidelines to correct the inappropriate behavior of the dog. If it is not possible for the animal to adapt to the absence of the owners, the intervention of an ethologist or canine behavior specialist will be necessary.
Complaints about dogs too alone
A dog is a social animal and, as such, needs contact with its owners. A dog cannot spend only more than nine hours a day in a row, but there are dogs that spend too many hours each day in this circumstance. Their owners do not have time to be with them due to innumerable obligations. In these cases, the dog is not happy and develops behavioral problems because he lives against his own social nature.
The excessive loneliness of dogs with owners who cannot attend them correctly is a common complaint in animal protectors. This is indicated by Arancha Sanz, lawyer of the Society for the Protection of Animals and Plants of Madrid (SPAP): "Every day we receive complaints and complaints from our offices of people who leave their dogs abandoned at home for hours and hours, and even for days ".
A well socialized dog is happy and fully adapted to its surroundings. However, this is not easy to achieve and the owners play a fundamental role in ensuring that their dog is healthy inside and out.
Both in his way of looking at you and acting, he shows you his love for you
It is possible that your dog is demonstrating his affection and affection unconditionally with each of his gestures - some a little more obvious than others - and in turn also demanding a ‘piece of love’ from you. Next, some of the signs by which ‘all dogs say I love you’:
1. Sleep with you. When he curls up, he rolls himself or throws himself wide by your side is his way of telling you that trust you, since they are animals that sleep in a pack for protection and heat. Hence, given their ‘dog persuasive techniques’, it is sometimes completely impossible to tell them to get out of bed.
2. Show absolute indifference when you go to work. Contrary to the separation stress that some dogs suffer when their owners leave home, others are shown as if it were completely the same. But don't worry, that doesn't mean I don't love you, just know with certainty that you will return. So, will receive you with all kinds of parties and alharacas - By the way, this also shows how much he loves you.
3. Eat your clothes. It is not always as fun when you see your favorite sports shoes or the classic walking shoes at home in your dog's mouth. Also, no matter how much you scold him, he steals them with impunity over and over again to slug them and tear them apart in a quiet corner. But don't be too hard on him, you have to keep in mind that they are impregnated with your smell and for him it is a little ‘jewel’ between his teeth.
4. Brings you your favorite toy to satiety. In addition to the fun that it produces, it is also a show of appreciation and the equivalent of giving you a ‘gift’ within your canine code. For that reason, it takes a few minutes to play with him, as both his toys and spending time with you are very important to them.
5. It sits on your feet. Is his way of ‘marking his territory’ and tell the world that you are his property, lest others think of wanting to share your love.
6. Follow you throughout the house. You can't help it, every time you get up from the sofa to the kitchen or from the room to the bathroom, there you will have it next to you, expectant not to lose detail of your next move. I can't live if you
7. Can't stop giving you licks and asking for pampering. It is his way of kissing you, of loving you and letting you know that he respects you. You are his family. On the other hand, when you throw your belly up it is a sign that he trusts you fully, because it is a gesture of vulnerability and submission.
8. Is able to read your emotions. They are very intelligent and sensitive, so that They are able to recognize your moods No problem. Therefore, he will accompany you in your sorrows and joys.
9. He lets himself be hugged, even though I hate him. You may not stop hugging your dog because you cannot love more, however, for him it is not very comfortable or pleasant. But since he is very smart and knows that you love him, he allows it.
10. Move your tail nonstop or smile at you. No matter what happens, any moment is good to move the tail vigorously and demonstrate the emotion and love he feels for you. Also, even if you don't believe it the dogs also smile, because by living with humans they have managed to imitate a gesture similar to ours. According to some experts, although it is difficult to recognize, the angle of the mouth becomes more pronounced and stretches almost from ear to ear.