Dogs understand tone and meaning of words

Originally published at:


But language was supposed to be the last argument for how superior I am and separate from the “natural” world. What will i use to make my case now?!




You’re feelings of superiority are intact for now, they can only just about do the understanding bit, you can start feeling really worried when they start talking back.


I’ve never witnessed another human eating their own feces or vomit (not saying it doesn’t happen, just that I’ve never seen it) so for now I will continue to look down upon them.

It is pretty amazing that dogs have superior language skills to chimpanzees and dolphins and the likes (at least when it comes to ‘conversing’ with us, I guess if chimps lived side by side with us for thousands of years things would be different).

1 Like

Oh, wait. You said “their own”… You’re still safe.


Napalm, concentration camps, Honey Boo Boo…

I’ll take the species whose worst crime is the occasional fecal feast any day of the week.


Ewww… I don’t think I’ve ever felt more cognitive dissonance when clicking “like” on a comment.



“Humans seem to be the only species which uses words and intonation for communicating emotions, feelings, inner states,”

No, people communicate ABOUT emotions, feelings, and inner states. They do not directly communicate emotions, feelings, or inner states themselves - people seem to often forget, and being aware of this distinction could serve to clarify matters.


You’d learn words quick, too, if after the first time you heard “Time to take him to the Vee Eee Tee” you woke up with no balls.


Add this to the list of articles about research confirming something about dogs that anyone who has ever lived with one already knows.

I’ve had more than one non-dog person question the conversational style in which I will speak to my dog. I know he doesn’t speak English, thank you for pointing that out. Setting aside the fact that dogs very clearly will learn and associate meaning to certain words, it’s also still the best way to communicate a message through tone of voice and body language.

For some reason the people who think this is strange, in my experience, would not think it at all strange to similarly speak in full sentences to a non-English speaking person, who frankly I’d say is less well equipped to interpret meaning through context clues.


you woke up with no balls.

You forgot *Trump 2016


Now you’re just being ridiculous. Dogs can’t even vote!*


  • Fido 2016! A squirrel in every pot and slower mailmen! All we have to fear is vacuum cleaners and thunder!

“We need to immediately put a stop to all Tabbies entering our great nation until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”


“I’m going to build the kennel and make the Mexican hairless cats pay for it!”


They definitely catch most of it. Like people. there are dumb dogs.

I can take my dog Chuck, point at a box, say Chuck, get in the box and he knows what to do. He knows from my tone that I am telling him to do something. He knows I want HIM to do it and I am pointing at the box. Clearly he might misunderstand until he gets an idea of what he could do with said box but I am always amazed he figures out 90-95% of what I am trying to get through to him. You are absolutely right, they are fantastic at context clues.

(Chuck Norris, Dog: I can get him to point at a box and say my name and then when I jump in the box, bro gives me a cookie. He’s really smart. He can point, speak AND get the cookie jar open.)

We’ve kept dogs as companions for around 10,000 years for a reason.


Back when I had dogs, I’d do something similar for shits and giggles. Say something like “We should destroy the state!” in a “Wanna go for a walk?” voice. Dogs didn’t give a shit, just cocked their heads or gave me sideye.

However, if I said “Wanna go for a walk?” in a low monotone, they knew exactly what I was saying.


I imagine it’s hard not to pick up that trait when selectively bred over countless generations.