How much of the human language do dogs know?

November 20, 2010 5:25pm CST
My boss says that dogs don't understand what people say to them, but I can prove her wrong with what I just did with my dog. He got up from the floor, came over to the couch and looked at me. I told him to go to his bowl, and that's exactly where he went. Sure seems like he understands what I'm saying to him, although sometimes he acts like he's deaf and wont listen to me. So really, how much of the human language do dogs understand and know?
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2 responses
@sjlskl (3384)
• Singapore
22 Nov 10
Dogs are pretty intelligent animals. They can pick up words after they are exposed to it over a long time. But I think the words are mostly "instructional". I know that some people will talk to their dog when they are feeling down. Now, I have my doubts how much of what was being said can they understand. They might have the impression that they are listening to you earnestly, but I think they are talking to figure out the speech as a instruction. Of course, I might be wrong here.
@GardenGerty (102514)
• United States
21 Nov 10
I think they understand language of some kind. It may be the tone of voice. It may be routine, as well. My cats act like they understand me, but choose not to listen a lot of times. Maybe it is also some intuition ability. We will never know for sure.