Do Dogs think in barks?

Many pet owners wonder if their dogs do think in barks or if the language that our furry friends are using is actually understood in barks.

do dogs think in barks

While we as humans tend to have words that run through our mind as well as pictures and thoughts, your pet also has the same interpretation of languages and thoughts too.

It’s not unusual to feel on the same page as your pooch at times, and part of this could be due to the way that your pup learns language and expresses ideas inside its head.

In this article, we will explore the way that dogs understand the complex ideas in their lives and how you can work at training your pet using your language of choice.

We’re going to start with the process of exploring how a dog understands English and then move on to recognizing the signs of understanding and how to properly train your furry friend using your language of choice.

Does your dog understand English?

Many pet owners end up talking to their dogs, and as it turns out, studies show that over time, pets can be very aware of what we’re saying.

If you don’t believe that, maybe you’ll change your mind after watching this video.

Animals can really pick up on human body language as well as the tone of our voice. Eventually, they start to associate different words with different outcomes, which means that the language and sounds that we’re using will ultimately translate to our furry friends precisely what we’re thinking.

You may notice that when you take a stern tone with your pooch that they start to lick their lips or show other signs of nervousness. By studying some of the effects of your tone and body language, you can start to generate some happy responses from your pet just from language alone.

According to studies which have been completed by USA Today, dogs are also capable of making eye contact and listening for ongoing cues in the same way that infants would react to a parent.

When you start to notice your pup reacting with a head tilt or other similar actions this can indicate that they’re picking up on some of your instructions.

Pets can also start to observe our body language. In fact, studies have shown that dogs and infants reacted in much the same way when examining body language and building new relationships.

Therefore, by exerting positive body language with your pet they can relate to you and you can make a stronger bond.

The top signs your dog understands you

If you’re looking for signs that your pooch can truly understand you, there are some quick signs to watch for when you’re training and speaking to them. Some of the main looks that you can watch for with dogs can include:

Ongoing eye contact: When your pup starts to display continuous eye contact this is a good sign that they’re listing and in the right place to focus.

Alert ears: if your pooch has perked up ears when they hear your voice, this shows that they’re trying to understand or that they do understand what you’re saying.

Wagging tails: When a dog starts to wag their tail, this shows that they’re in a positive place and it often comes as a result of a positive tone or body language that you have displayed.

Head tilt: A head tilt is an obvious sign that a pooch is trying to understand what you are trying to say.
Although a head tilt can be used as a sign of confusion, it also works very well to show that your pooch is listening and attempting to understand you.

Completing early training: When your pup is attempting to understand some of your commands, they may go through some of the previous commands that you taught them.

If you’re asking a dog to sit they may immediately offer a paw to shake. Eventually, when the pup starts to learn the difference between commands or when they can focus better to your new commands, you can make progress with understanding and training.

How do we know dogs understand English?

Dogs are some of the oldest domesticated animals in the world, and they have been interacting with humans for thousands of years. That’s why researchers are suggesting that throughout evolution dogs to become more in tune with humans.

Because our furry friends are used to growing up in a domesticated state alongside humans, they have a stronger sense of observation when compared to some of their wild cousins.

Domesticated dogs often can pick up on body language and tones within our voice so that they have almost a superpower for learning English.

Moreover, pups often understand words in the way that they are being said. This means that if you start to attach a specific sound to words that you say or a tone to these words, you should maintain consistency throughout the training process.

Brain imaging done on dogs during training suggests that they processed words using the left side of their brains which is similar to the way humans understand languages.

Researchers have suggested with the imaging that has been present; dog brains process the sound of the word as well as the tone that we say the word when they become extremely familiar with the language.

Is there science behind the ways dogs understand us?

Dogs are not, in fact, thinking the exact same language that we speak as humans.

This means that no matter what language you speak your dog is unlikely to use this as the base action for thoughts or feelings in their head.

They do understand the sounds that you’re making and this is often the way that they associate commands.

A pup basically uses association in sounds to understand commands and eventually understand us.

When our furry friends continue to hear the same sounds they can begin to actually associate that sound with a given behavior or reaction.

They may hear the word “walk” and eventually discover that this means they are going for a walk.

They can hear “Shake” and after a long period of positive reinforcement, they can learn that it is a command for them to place their paw in your hand.

When you start to add in different tones to these words, your dog can essentially expand their vocabulary.

When you sound excited about asking for a walk, this will help your pet get more excited to go outside. When you offer a stern word when giving them a command, this can sometimes act as a negative or punishment for your pup when they are slow to obey.

Most of the time in training, positive reinforcement can be one of the easiest ways that pets can pick up new skills.

Dog brains often have their pleasure centers activated when they hear praising words. When you tell your pup “Good boy” in an excited tone, for example, this will eventually activate the same pleasure centers that your pup gets from eating a meal or when they are being petted.

How can I train my dog to understand me?

It’s possible to make sure that your pooch understands what you mean eventually.

Communicating with your pet can be an essential piece of training and making sure that they can remain obedient inside your home.

You can alternately choose the commands that will result in actions for your pet.

When you are training your pooch, you could have a command like “Tennis” to get them to sit with enough positive reinforcement.

It’s usually much more efficient to associate the action you would like your dog to do with the word that you know, or that is associated with that action.

If you are trying to prevent certain actions, it’s also important to keep a stern tone.

This could mean that if you see your dog chewing a shoe or making a mess on the carpet, you take an assertive tone and interrupt them in the process of that command.

When a pooch starts to understand your stern tones and a commands like “Stop” this will eventually be a command that will make them freeze and stop what they are doing.

Having a consistent word for preventing negative behavior can be important to help your pet understands when they are doing something they should not be.

Through mostly positive reinforcement and an addressing of negative behaviors when they occur, your dog can eventually start to associate the commands that you give with specific actions and positive reactions.


It turns out, dogs don’t think in English, but they don’t think in barks either.

While a bark may be one of the best ways for your dog to communicate with you, the way that they perceive your commands is mostly based on sound and repetition.

This is why proper training and practice is so important with your pet!


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