Dog Training

How Many Words Can a Dog Understand ?

How Many Words Can a Dog Understand
How Many Words Can a Dog Understand

Have you ever tried talking with your dog? Or have you tried to communicate with him or asked yourself how many words can a dog understand? We all know that all dog breeds don’t have the same level of intelligence, which means that their ability to understand varies from dog to dog and breed to breed.

In addition, the number of words a dog can understand in your conversation with him will vary depending on the type of dog and the level of training and age. Of course, all dogs know the basics, such as sitting, lying down, walking … but is the dog’s ability to understand and store words to remember them in the future a lot, or is it simply because they are not used for days when they are forgotten?

All this and other information related to how to make the dog smarter and how to train him to understand many words that we will cover in this article. But first, let’s start by knowing the super dog learners

Meet the canine super learners

In fact, interest in dog smarts has increased since 2001, as research and studies in this field have multiplied. The reason for this sudden interest is due to the appearance of Rico, the Border Collie, who can understand 200 words that made his first appearance on a German television show. After that, a study at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology showed that this dog can remember several new words even a month after not hearing them. Rico maintained the record until the appearance of Chaser, another Border Collie, who can understand 1022 words, and this is the first time in history that a dog can understand this number of words.

“Chaser” is owned by John W. Pilley, a famous psychiatrist, and professor at Wofford College in Spartanburg, where he began training this dog in 2004 by teaching it the names of two games a day for three consecutive years, then published the research in the Journal of Behavioral Operations in February 2011. According to the study, during this time “Chaser” developed several skills to understand many words in addition to remembering them while playing many games.

From this study, we knew that the number of words can a dog understand varies depending on the training it has received, but let us know the approximate number of these words.

How Many Words Can a Dog Understand?

According to Dr. Stanley Corin, an expert in canine intelligence and author of the book “The Intelligence of Dogs“, an average dog can understand about 165 words, and this number can be increased through continuing training. The dog can understand more words by repetition and consistency of the same words, which improves the ability of canines to memorize them.

Dr. Corin says that 20% of canines who are the smartest dogs have the ability to understand about 250 words. That’s equivalent to the comprehension level of a two-year-old child.

Dog breeds who understand words

How Many Words Can a Dog Understand
How Many Words Can a Dog Understand

Since the 1970s, scientists have confirmed that language is not unique to humans as parrots can speak and the chimpanzees can understand sign language … but they have not been able to determine the intelligence level of each animal or breed. But for dogs, Dr. Corin categorized their level of understanding of words into three categories:

  • The first level: It consists of the most intelligent dogs (You can know more about the most intelligent dogs in the world in this article) that are Border Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds has a great ability to understand words easily.
  • The second level: these are intelligent dogs such as borzois, chow chows, and Bulldogs, and they have an average level of understanding of words, but you will soon forget them.
  • The third level: these are the dumbest dogs like the  Afghan Hound breed because it is characterized by slow learning of words in addition to the speed of forgetting them.

Tips for teaching your dogs how to understand new words

While many dog trainers offer many rewards when they train dogs with new tricks, such as understanding new words, Pilley has a different opinion, as he confirms that there is only one thing that all dog trainers and owners should know when training dogs, which is play, as it is the key to overcoming any difficulties when training dogs because play is better than food. Below, we will provide you with many tips to increase the number of words can a dog understand:

  • Be patient: It is very important to be patient when training your dog by making the training session enjoyable and useful. Frequent repetition and rewards and compliments play a big part in achieving excellent results by teaching your dog new words.
  • Consistency: To train your dog like a pro, you need to be consistent, by asking all family members to use the same word and sign to train the dog the same procedure. Because inconsistency causes confusion and distraction for the dog and makes it harder for the dog to understand a new word.
  • Reward: To help your dog understand more words, reward him, and recognize his accomplishments when he does what is asked of him, just as we do so well with children.
  • Mix verbal cues and hand gestures: Because dogs naturally tend to respond to body language more than they do to talk when you ask them to sit, it’s a good idea to accompany them by moving your hand down so they know you’re asking them to sit.

What Words a Can dogs understand?

Words a Can dogs understand
Words Can dogs understand

Dogs understand basic words such as sit, walk, stop … and other necessary training commands. Therefore, it is not possible to limit the type of words can a dog understand because it varies with the type of training the dog has received, the environment in which it lives, i.e. the words that are heard every day. For example, among the 164 words that can a dog understand, there is a set of vocabulary that all dogs can understand, while the rest differs from dog to dog.

Moreover, all normal dogs know their names without intensive training, because the daily repetition of this name inevitably leads to its retention.

If you are one of those who talk easily with their dogs, you can share your experiences with us in the Comments.