When you’re home alone and you catch yourself having a full blown conversation with your pooch, you might think you’re going a bit nuts. But chatting away to your dog might be more beneficial than you think, for both you and Fido. People might judge you if you do it out in public, but they just don’t understand that this is normal for dog owners!
And it’s not all as crazy as it sounds. Dogs can understand a scary amount of what we are saying. There’s a border collie that has been scientifically shown to know 1,000 words. That’s pretty incredible. Dogs can understand individual worlds but they can’t really understand sentences. What they do tend to pick up on most of all is our tone of voice.
Sometimes, we just need to get things off our chest. But when you talk to a person, they understand what you are saying, and might have something to say in response, which you might not want to hear. Dogs don’t answer back, judge us or say things we don’t like. Talking to your dog can be quite therapeutic, and help you to process your thoughts.
Talking to your dog can also help improve your bond, as dogs often find the sound of their owner’s voice soothing. It also gets them used to the sound of your voice, and when they are trying to interpret what you are on about, they are continuously learning more about you.
We talk to dogs kind of like we talk to toddlers, by shortening our sentences and simplifying what we say, as well as raising our voices. This is often called ‘dog directed speech’. The next time you notice someone talking to their dog, have a listen, it sounds like they are talking to a young child.
‘Living in close contact with humans for over 30,000 years has led dogs to evolve communication skills that are effectively equal to those of human children.’ Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B
Research has shown that dogs are super intelligent and excellent at understanding us humans, they have spent years by our side, watching our every move. Even though a lot of the time they have no idea what we are chatting on about, their facial expressions and reactions can provide some joy for us. And for those who are lonely, talking to a dog can provide some company and companionship.
Basically, there ain’t nothing wrong with having a good old chin wag with Fido every now and then, even if friends and strangers give you funny looks.