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TagSophie Jacques

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Puppy pressing his paw against a Girl hand

Dogs Understand Many More Words Than We Think

They also pick up very readily on human emotions, researchers have found

Sophie Jacques, Associate Professor, Psychology and Neuroscience, Dalhousie University, came up with some interesting figures on dogs recognizing words. Starting in 2015, she and a colleague developed a list of 172 words organized in different categories (for example, toys, food, commands, outdoor places) and gave it to an online sample of 165 owners of family and professional dogs. We asked them to select words that their dogs responded to consistently. We found that, on average, service dogs respond to about 120 words, whereas family pets respond to about 80 words, ranging between 15 to 215 words across all dogs. We also found that certain breed groups, such as herding dogs like border collies and toy dogs like chihuahuas, respond to…