Did You Know that Dogs Notice Your Tone of Voice?

Dogs perceive feelings implied by our tone of voice. Their brains can process not only what we say, but also intent and emotions in a human voice. 
Did You Know that Dogs Notice Your Tone of Voice?

Last update: 01 May, 2019

Dogs perceive feelings by our tone of voice. Their brains can process not only what we say, but also the intent and emotions in a human voice.

According to certain studies, your dog understands how you feel and your intentions through the emotions in the tone of your voice. All of this could explain why they obey us.

Why do they recognize our tone of voice?

Two dogs listen to a person.

The results of several studies have shown that language processing in a dog’s brain divides between the two hemispheres, just as with humans.

As in humans, each cerebral hemisphere in a dog’s brain specializes in understanding different parts of communication. This can be directly understandable language (words and phrases) or non-verbal language (gestures and intonations).

The next thing to study is whether a dog’s capacity to understand our tone of voice is the product of its evolution as a species, or if it has to do with being domesticated by humans.

In this way, dogs understand some parts of human speech in a similar way to how we do. This ability has been fundamental throughout history for the domestication of dogs.

As dog owners, we’ve always believed at some point that our furry friend seems to understand everything we say. 

Tone of voice– going beyond words

Some experts say that dogs even recognize conversational components, and even phonemes in phrases.

During a conversation, words aren’t everything. Characteristics like intonation play an important part in communication, and different parts of the brain process these nuances.

The process of domestication

How have dogs been able to adapt to recognize our tone of voice? The domestication of dogs and their ability to respond to human orders have certainly played an important role in their adaptation. However, we can’t rule out the fact that this is a common characteristic of several mammal species.

Another peculiarity is the fact that dogs can differentiate between a male and female voice, as humans can. In addition, they can recognize faces. 

Different researchers consider a dog’s intelligence to be comparable to that of a two-year-old baby.

How were the studies carried out?

During the studies, a team of investigators played different recorded messages and analyzed the animals’ reactions. Some of the recordings said, “come here” in a monotonous tone. Others didn’t say anything comprehensible, but had a positive tone.

Depending on which side the dog turned to look, they could deduce which brain hemisphere had processed the information. In other words, if the dog looked to his left, that implied that they had heard the sound with greater intensity in the left ear.

These results were conclusive for understanding that dog’s brains process speech similar to the way humans do.

Some intelligent breeds

A labrador smiling.

Although it depends on the dog, and each animal is different from others, some breeds are more “active and bold” than others.

Labradors are one of the most intelligent breeds in the world, and also one of the most popular. It’s an incredible dog breed that offers many services. This breed originated in Newfoundland and originally hunted aquatic birds.

As times change, Labradors have begun to take on new jobs. Many of these dogs are part of the police force, working to detect bombs and drugs. Any dog that can be trained for this kind of work is definitely intelligent.

Labradors can also be rescue dogs. Many receive training to help the disabled, and especially the blind. Labradors can be trained to guide a human without taking notice of any distractions.

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