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According to a study, 80% of dog owners admitted that they believe their dogs understood the human language. This is also supported by researchers at a University in Hungary who say that there is truth to what many dog owners believe. However, dogs haven’t gone to any English learning institute for us to say without a doubt that they understand the language. Due to this factor, dogs don’t understand English words. What they understand are sounds in a language. After hearing that sound for a while they associate it with a particular behavior and some consequences. That way if you tell your dog to ‘sit’ it will end up sitting after hearing that sound often. The challenge comes in teaching our dogs to understand the sounds and interpret them according to the situation. Dogs don’t primarily need to understand the English language. You can come up with another language that is simple and match how dogs are able to understand us. For you to say that your dog understands English, there are certain things you need first to know when talking to your dog.

Use of Tone

The type of tone used causes innate and predictable reactions in dogs. Cheerful tone expresses fun and excitement meaning you should use a cheerful or praising voice when your dog does what you want it to. That way your dog responds with its head high, ears perked and tail wagging. If you use a disappointing tone in case your dog misbehaves, it learns to associate it with disapproval behavior. In fact, when it wants to repeat that mistake it might remember it’s wrong. Soft or lower volume expresses love and concern. At times, use of this tone can make the dog lying next to you.

Body Language is Important

Body language is more conclusive for the behavior of dogs than sounds and tones. It will induce the dog to follow your instructions more readily. As a result, you might think that your dog understands what you’re saying but it is due to the self-confident body language that makes your dog get what you’re saying. Insecure body language may trigger different reactions from the dog. It can make the dog nervous and ready to attack due to fear when caught in that situation. Dogs also observe other body signals like yawning, champing, licking our lips, pouty mouth and canine muzzle grasp.

Training Your Dog


Using an assertive tone when training your dog can contribute a great deal. Don’t try to copy how other people talk when training their dog. Do what works for you or else you might confuse the dog. In fact, you can use one word and just modify it depending on the situation and what you’re teaching the dog. Look for simple and clear words and am sure your dog will always remember whenever you say those words. You should learn to reward your dog immediately they understand what you’re teaching them as a way of motivation. Sometimes signals might work better when training your dog although these signals might conflict with words. For example, telling your dog to sit and make the gesture to lie down will confuse the dog and it might be guided by the visual signal and lie down instead.

Your Relationship with the Dog

If you have established a certain relationship with your dog, it feels safe and can follow you wherever you go. There is that bond that makes your dog come running towards you immediately you get home from the grocery store. Even some give you kisses continuously on your face to an extent your face gets covered in drool. Some may attempt to stick their tongue inside your nose or mouth if you’re not keen. This shows that your dog has understood and can remember that you’re “friends”. A study was carried out on a dog owner and another individual to determine who has a more established relationship with the pet. After a full two days of isolation from the dog, the three were later brought to the same room. The dog was seen lying beneath the owners’ legs which clearly signified a relationship between the two.


Dogs can understand words they have heard before which doesn’t necessarily mean that they understand English. Moreover, be careful with the words you use because dogs can’t differentiate meaningful words from meaningless words. Dogs not only require you to say a word for them to interpret it but also it’s crucial how you say the words. The two are important for correct interpretation. This is similar to how the human brain functions to different communicators.

All images by Pixabay


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