People who talk to their dogs in public can be a little hard on them, but new research suggests the more they talk to them, the better their chances of understanding what’s going on around them.
A study by a team of Australian researchers has found dogs talk better with their owners when they are alone in the home.
“The results show that when dogs are in their own environment, they tend to be more receptive to people talking to them,” lead researcher Dr Sue Smith told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“If you have a pet, they may not be able to hear you but they can hear you if they want to.”
When they are talking to people, they seem to become more attentive and more receptive.
“Dr Smith said the results were based on interviews with more than 600 dogs, many of whom had had their owners visit with them.
The study found that dogs were more receptive if they were with their owner when they were in their owner’s house.”
We’ve seen this before with dogs,” Dr Smith said.”
There’s some studies that show dogs can understand and respond to language that’s spoken by their owners, and that’s been done in the laboratory.
“This was the first study to actually look at the data in dog behaviour.”
Dr Sam Taylor from the University of Adelaide said she believed dogs would be able improve their communication if they had to interact with humans in the public.
“I think we could use a lot of people who have an animal to help us to understand how their dogs might interact with people in the real world,” Dr Taylor said.
The research, conducted at the University College of New South Wales, is published in the Journal of Animal Cognition.