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Old 06-06-2008, 07:32 PM
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Default Do dogs understand human language?

"I'll teach my dog 100 words," says the boy in the children's story of the same name. But can he really? Dog owners love to gush about canine intelligence. So it would come as no surprise to them that research supports their beliefs that dogs have a profound mental capacity. But how much of our language do dogs really understand? It turns out that the language comprehension of some dogs rivals that of apes and parrots, not to mention the average 3-year-old.

Sure, most dogs understand the basics --"fetch," "sit" and "stay." But if you have the motivation and patience, you will probably be able to teach your dog even more than 100 words. Stanley Coren, a psychologist who has performed a significant amount of research on the subject of dog intelligence, suggests that average trained dogs know about 160 words [source: Coren]. Some dogs even show a vocabulary as vast as a human toddler's.

Since at least the 1970s, when researchers successfully trained chimpanzees to use and read words in sign language, we have known that language, in a loose sense of the term, is not unique to humans. Animals have the brain power to understand human language and use their own languages in surprisingly profound ways. We all know parrots can be trained to speak human words. And dogs will react to the word "walk" with a knowing, tail-wagging enthusiasm.

How deep is the dog's bank of human words?The answer: surprisingly far.

At first, the researchers wanted to verify in a controlled setting whether Rico (A Border Collie) really knew 200 words. To do this, they collected 10 items with which Rico was familiar. At the verbal command of his owner, they had him fetch a specific item from a separate room. Rico performed very well at this task, but the researchers wanted to challenge him further. Next, they chose a new item -- one that Rico had never seen in his life -- and placed it in the room among the familiar items. The owner requested that new item by name and, lo and behold, Rico brought back the new item.

This shows that dogs really knew human language.To find more, click this link.

Reference: http://animals.howstuffworks.com/pet...tand-words.htm

Last edited by pinkpuppy; 06-06-2008 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 06-07-2008, 02:31 AM
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Default Re: Do dogs understand human language?

Ah yes, I've seen a similar demonstration on an Animal Planet or National Geographic program, where the owner and dog gave a performance showcasing its vocabulary of over 100 items...

And when the owner mentioned the name of a new item that the dog never heard before, the dog went all over looking and sniffing at each of the items he recognized, then finally picked up the one that he has never seen before!

Even if animals don't comprehend human language, they still have their own basic notions of logic, deductions and emotions, just like little kids - cute, innocent and naive hehe... I really can't stand those people that mistreat animals because they are "just animals".
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