Dog news: Pets can respond to 89 distinct words on average

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A survey of dog owners has concluded that the average pet can respond to 89 words or phrases, with some dogs responding to 215

Life



14 December 2021

Dogs respond to more words than you might think

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Domestic dogs respond to 89 words and phrases, on average – including verbs, nouns and terms of endearment – suggesting that their human vocabulary skills extend well beyond intentional cues like “sit” and “stay”.

Sophie Jacques and Catherine Reeve at Dalhousie University in Canada created an initial inventory of 172 words and phrases they suspected pet and working dogs might be most likely to recognise. That list was based on prior studies, dog training courses, items marketed for dogs in pet shops, …

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