Our pups are SO much smarter than we thought!
It's something every single dog owner has done at some point or another.
It's time for your dog to take a bath, or to get in the car to go the vet. Your usually well-trained and well-behaved pup won't budge, no matter firmly you call him to you.
So what do you do? You coo at him: "Come on your big jerk, it's time to go the veeeeet!" After all, they're just dogs, right? So of course what you're saying doesn't actually matter so much as how you say it.
You could call your dog fart face and if you did it in a voice dripping sweetness he would still look at you like you hung the moon.
Well the news is in, jerks, and it isn't good.
According to a study recently published in the journal Science, dogs understand more of what we're saying than we ever realized before.
In the study a group of very well-behaved dogs were put inside an MRI, where their brains were scanned as their trainers said a series of words in different intonations.
Let us pause here to acknowledge how impossible it would be to make our dogs just chill out in an MRI. I would have to stuff mine with Milkbones until he probably wouldn't even fit in the tube anymore.
The researchers performing the study monitored the dog's brain activity and found that just like with humans, dogs processed the meaning of the word on the right side of their brain and the intonation of the word on the left side.
We might think we've got our dog fooled by saying "let's go take a bath" in a sugary sweet voice, but it turns out that our dogs aren't fooled at all.
It goes the other way, too. Saying words the researchers deemed as neutral to the dogs (stuff like "if" and "then") in a very sweet intonation didn't have anywhere near the effect that saying something like "you handsome furry bellied boy" in a sweet way would.
I swear that my dog can understand everything I'm saying, so to me this is in no way surprising. That said, I also fully believe that I know when my cat's angry with me, so my tendency to anthropomorphize animals does make a little bit, how do we say ... biased.
But what this means for how we relate to our dogs is sort of mind-blowing. It means that dogs are a lot smarter than we previously thought, and also that they are so loyal we should be ashamed of ourselves. Now get off of your computer or smartphone and go cuddle the patient pup in your life.