Can Dogs Talk?

As  a dog owner, I am sure you have thought about this question before.  Our dogs will most certainly bark at us or whine to try and get attention, but do they actually have formulated thoughts behind those barks or are they just making a noise to try and get what they want?  Some breeds are well known for their ability and willingness to make sounds that can sound just like words and sentences, like a Husky.

Can Dogs TalkScientific studies have answered, with a resounding “no”.  In 1912. the John Hopkins university did a very detailed and in-depth study on if dogs could talk, and came up with the answer that a “dog’s speech” is just the production of the dog’s vocal sounds, and hearing them speak is an illusion that we as humans hear.  Dogs can express emotion through various tones of voice, though, although it is more of an imitation than a talk.  Dogs can also imitate humans, which they use as a form of endearment to the pack leader because they love you so much they want to be just like you!  This is a very similar behavior to many other primates that also imitate sounds for the same reason, to show empathy, compassion, and understanding.  Dogs can also learn to “speak” for reward, and you can easily teach them how to make sounds that sound incredibly similar to human sentences!  Don’t be fooled, though, you may be able to teach them how to say “I love you”, but if they could really talk they would be saying “GIMME THE COOKIES!!!!!”.  Scientifically, dogs cannot really speak well because they do not use their lips and tongues to pronounce words like we do.  If you want to know what this is like, just try saying your name while keeping your tongue on the top or bottom of your mouth.  This does not mean that your pooch cannot understand you, though, canines have become incredibly adept at reading the tones of our voices, our body language, and cues, and learning what to do when we repeat phrases to them (like “Sit” or “Don’t eat that!”), even though they cannot talk, dogs are actually incredibly socially adept creatures!