Can Dogs Understand Humans?

Dog owners share a special bond with their dogs that is deeper than random playtimes and trips to the dog park. Dogs and humans are living together for ages, and dogs are considered the closest and most faithful human companions. But this thought must have crossed your mind that can dog understand humans?

Yes, dogs can understand humans. Unlike other pet animals, dogs have gifted abilities to understand humans. Their interest in humans significantly helps them interpret humans’ words, gestures, facial expressions, and emotions. 

So, with a bit of training and time you spend with your dog, you can considerably improve the understanding between you and your best buddy. To help you understand everything regarding dogs understanding humans, this post covers some of the frequently asked queries of dog owners.

Can Dogs Understand Human Language?

Yes, dogs can understand human language. Several studies conducted to understand dogs’ behavior confirm that dogs can remember words you speak.

According to a recent study at the University of Sussex, England:

Dogs not only understand human language, but they can also differentiate between meaningful words and gibberish.

Another study, published in the journal Current Biology in 2014, confirmed that dogs could understand human speech. It said:

Humans use different parts of the brain to understand speech; the same way dogs use their brains to interpret human language. Both use the left side of the brain to understand words.

Can Dogs Understand Human Language?

How Do Dogs Understand Human Language?

Now you know that dogs can understand human language, but how he does so? Is it his natural instinct, or can you teach him some new words by training? To know this, read on.

Dogs understand human language by:


Dogs are very smart and have good memories. They can associate words with different scenarios, so whenever you utter that word again, they will respond.

For example, when your dog is outside or walking with you, he tries to eat everything out of curiosity offered to him by nature. But as a responsible pet parent, you understand that everything isn’t good for him, so you’ll stop him from doing so.

While stopping him, you’ll use some words or phrases. Your dog will remember them even later, and whenever you say them, he’ll automatically understand that thing is harmful to him.


You’ll dog loves to get rewards, and he knows that whenever he hears a specific instruction, he’ll be rewarded. So, whenever you command him to do anything, he’ll act according to knowing there is a reward.

Dog trainers or owners often use rewards or treats to teach some new words to the dog.

Can Dogs Understand Human Body Language?

Yes, dogs can understand human body language. In fact, they can understand your body gestures better than other animals and human kids too.

According to Dr. Hare’s research;

“Dogs were better than our closest cousins, chimpanzees, and even human children at following subtle cues, such as pointing, body direction, and eye movement.”

Can Dogs Understand Human Emotions?

Dogs can not only understand human emotions, but they can also distinguish them. That means your dog can know when you’re happy, sad, worried, scared, etc.

Recent research from the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Bari Aldo Moro in southern Italy says that dogs understand human emotions based only on human vocalizations.

Like humans, they use the right side of the brain to understand negative emotions and the left side of the brain for positive ones.

Can Dogs Understand Humans Better Than Other Animals? 

Can Dogs Understand Humans Better Than Other Animals?

Several studies conducted recently revealed that dogs can understand humans better than all other animals. The prime reason for this is dogs pay complete attention to humans, while other animals are not so good at doing so. Dogs can understand things by humans’ behavior, expressions, and words.

Researchers at Duke University experimented with checking the validity of this hypothesis, “Can dogs understand humans better than other animals?”. During this, they took 37 wolf pups that were separated from their mothers and raised by humans. They also took 44 puppies that had very little human interaction.

In this experiment, the researchers took two bowls and put a treat in one of them. Then, they pointed their finger three times towards the bowl containing the treat. Dog puppies listened to the human instructions more than where they should go, although they had experienced very little human contact before.

Another research published in Current Biology says that dogs are 30 times better at approaching an unknown human than wolf pups. They are also better at making eye contact.

All these studies have made this clear that dogs are the true companions of humans, either they live with them or not. There is a natural bond that exists between humans and dogs.

How Much Can Dogs Understand Humans?

Dogs are quick learners, and this ability helps them to understand humans to a great extent. There is no fixed boundary that how much dogs can understand humans, but they can as much as you want.

You can teach them new commands by spending some more time with them. More will the time spend together; better will be your bonding with your companion, thus a better understanding.

In general, dogs can pick visual commands better than verbal ones. Because learning through observation is better than learning human speech.


Humans’ bond to their dogs can’t be defined in words. The abundant love and affection towards their dogs make the dog owners wonder that, can dog understand humans?

Fortunately, dogs can understand humans, so you can build a stronger bond by expressing your love. He’ll understand your words, body language, and even emotions. You can even teach him some commands by training him.

Studies show that dogs have 30 times better bonding with humans than other animals. So, you can expect that they will listen to you quickly while training, and you’ll soon be able to convey your emotions and commands to him.

Just spare some time to train him properly, and you’ll see your pup was ever ready to be an obedient companion.