It doesn't take a scientific study for dog owners to believe that their pets know what they're saying. (We cat owners are a little less certain.) But it’s not always clear exactly what Fido (or Calli) is paying attention to.
When we say “Good dog!” dogs hear both the words we say and how we say them, new brain scans show. For people, both the word and intonation are important, but no one knew—until now—whether that was also the case for dogs. (See "Dogs Are Even More Like Us Than We Thought.")
In a study published in Science, scientists found the canine brain also processes the information in a similar way as humans.
“I’m quite excited by this finding. It’s really exciting to see such close correspondence between brain activity in humans and dogs,” said Chris Petkov, a neuropsychologist at the U.K.'s University of Newcastle who was not involved in the study.