Your dog understands you when you talk to him, according to an investigation
There are many people who have pets, and there is a saying that the dog is man's best friend . Actually, those who have lived with a dog will know that people create a deep relationship with these animals.
Dogs and humans usually have a special connection, and dogs are even there for their owners in bad times. In this sense there is a type of psychotherapy called assisted therapy, in which dogs are the star animal.
The therapy with dogs allows to enhance the relational and communication skills of patients, stimulates the realization of motor activities, improves social skills, reduces stress or anxiety and allows improving the self-esteem of patients.
- You can learn more about dog therapy in our article: "The benefits of dog therapy"
Dogs understand us more than we think
Having a dog can change our lives, because they make us have good times, they bring us company, they are faithful companions and we can even talk to them because they can show intelligent behavior. In fact, at the brain level there seem to be more similarities than we thought.
These animals have been used in many studies that pretended to know more about learning or about intelligence. A clear example are Ivan Pavlov's classic conditioning experiments or Edward Thorndike's experiments.
Our relationship with dogs is very different from what we have with cats, which tend to be more solitary animals and for some even ardent and insensitive. According to one study, cats dominate their owners; however it seems that they love people more than we thought. At least this is what other research indicates.
The results of a survey of II Scientific Analysis of the Affinity Foundation on the Link between People and Animals of Company indicate that 71% of dog owners communicate regularly with their pet . Surely those who have dogs have been able to verify that it seems that they listen to us when we speak to them. This is what seems to indicate an investigation carried out by the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom.
How a dog's brain works when we communicate with them
Dogs are well known for having a very fine sense of smell, but also a spectacularly effective ear. In fact, when we talk to them, they tend to pay attention to what we say to them, especially when they want something, for example, food.
The group of researchers from the University of Sussex says that the dogs understand us when we talk to them. Not only do they listen to our voice, but they also differentiate the words. In this sense, these animals seem to have a brain that elaborates language similar to humans .
Dogs use different parts of the brain to process information. On the one hand, the left hemisphere is merely verbal and performs an analysis of the voice, the emotional content of the message, the languages, sounds and phonetic contents known to them. In addition, dogs use the right hemisphere to process rhythms, languages and sounds that are unfamiliar to them. This research had a sample of 250 dogs, and the results seem to indicate that they understand the content of the messages. The researchers are clear: "domestication has been key to the brain of dogs has evolved to be similar to ours.
However, this study leaves questions open and unanswered, because we do not know how much and to what extent the dogs really understand what we feel and the nonverbal language we transmit.
The dogs' memory also seems to be similar to that of humans
Researchers have found that dogs have a capacity to remember similar to that of humans, and remember more and better when there are emotional ties in those memories.
Now, an investigation states that a dog's emotional competence is like that of a three-year-old child. They can feel emotions similar to those of humans: happiness, love, anger and, of course, fear. However, according to a study by the University of British Columbia, dogs may not experience emotions of a higher level, such as shame .
It is important to keep this in mind, because we often tend to interpret the actions of pets under a perspective that leads us to humanize almost everything they do. It is true that dogs are not simple robots that are limited to reacting to what we do through relatively mechanical and predictable processes, but we can not say that they experience their life and their relationships as human beings do.
It is very possible that dogs have a certain degree of awareness of themselves and others , but that does not mean that they are prepared to feel or socialize by interpreting what is said to them in a way that is as accurate and nuanced as we are.
The benefits of having a dog
Dogs are the pet of choice for many, and their presence can make us really happy. This is what was demonstrated in the II Scientific Analysis of the Affinity Foundation on the Link between People and Animals of Company, in which an investigation was carried out that counted 6,000 subjects.
74% of respondents said that having a dog as a pet increased their welfare. In addition, 31% said that their dog or cat is more important to them than their friends.
However, What are the benefits of having a dog? A dog brings the following advantages:
- Help to exercise: A dog can be an ideal companion to go for a walk.
- Greater social life: Having a dog as a pet not only makes you leave home, but also allows you to meet new people.
- It is a good therapeutic tool: it improves the well-being of people thanks to dog-assisted therapy.
- Improves cardiovascular health: By promoting the practice of physical exercise improves the health of the heart.
- Reduces stress: This shows scientific studies.
- It makes you feel more secure: The company of a dog also offers security.
- It makes you responsible: Caring for a pet demands responsibility.