When we talk to dogs, we use that tone of voice typically reserved for very little babies. It sounds overly upbeat and kind of dumb, but we’ve always figured the little guys like it—right?
Well, according to new research, yes… and they actually understand way more than we think.
Per a study at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, dogs can recognize vocabulary and intonation of human speech. Meaning they process the reward value of what you say to them based on the words you use and how you say them. It turns out, dogs, like humans, use different sides of the brain to comprehend vocabulary and tone, and then combine the information to find meaning.
Unsurprisingly then, the study found that dogs respond best when positive words are said in the aforementioned exaggeratedly positive tone--and see right through negative words in a falsely positive tone.
So the next time you say “Who’s a good boy?”, make sure it sounds sincere, because you really can’t afford to lose little Scooby’s trust.