Does your dog pay attention to what you say? Thinking back to the last time it rolled in something stinky, or ran off with your socks, you may not be convinced. But new research from the University of Sussex shows that man's best friend is at least listening; and not only to what we say, but how we say it. Georgia Mills spoke to Victoria Ratcliffe, who tested over 200 willing canines...
Certainly everybody knows that dogs can learn a few trigger words. There have been notes on the web about a dog called Chaser who has learned the name of about 1000 different objects, and apparently even used intuition to learn a novel name.
My goodness! Only 20,000 years after Man started saying things like "mush" "stop" "sit" "fetch" "wait" and "kill", never mind shepherds' whistles, our academic colleagues have discovered the blindingly obvious. Yes, folks, we selectively breed, live with and work with dogs (and almost no other species) because they not only listen to us, but actually know what we want them to do, and are generally happy to do it. If only I could train human employees to the same standard!
A rather interesting little snippet on our four legged friends, they are said to be the only other species to understand the concept of pointing. Don_1, Mon, 12th Jan 2015
Perhaps another comment on the obvious, but this article says dogs also understand the emotional content of speech, and like people, process informational and emotional meaning in different hemispheres of their brains. (The podcast might have the same information, but I have limited bandwidth)
I saw an experiment where domesticated dogs and wild wolves faced with the same challenging problem. As I recall it was a steak inside an enclosure with a non-obvious entrance.