Researchers say dogs' brains react to words and tone of voice just like a human brain

Posted at 6:27 PM, Aug 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-31 04:10:56-04

A new study out of Hungary finds dogs' brains react to certain words and tone of voice just like a human brain.

"If you say certain words in certain ways, dogs brains react just like our brains do," said Dr. Michael Berkenblit.

Berkenblit is a veterinarian at Village Animal Clinic in North Palm Beach.

He was impressed by the findings of the study.

"I also think it's just a really cool study just to see how dogs have evolved and their brains have evolved very similar to our brains," he said.

He added, "It reinforces the fact that when you're talking to your dog, you've got to talk to them and you've got to praise them with emotion behind it."

The study found that positive words and tone of voice can be just as rewarding to a dog as an edible treat.

But negative words and tone can affect a dog's emotional well being and cause their anxiety level to spike, Berkenblit said.

"If you want to get the result you've got to use the right word in the right way," the veterinarian added.

"They're not dumb creatures, they're really intelligent creatures. You better remember how intelligent and empathetic they are," Berkenblit said.

The study was done by putting dogs in an MRI machine while still awake.

Rich Johnson and his girlfriend Tiffany Pabst say they agree with the findings.

"Animals are exactly like people. They have feelings. They have a soul," Pabst said.

The couple own a 10-year old Golden Retriever named Riley.

They say they choose their words and tone wisely when they're around their dog.

"Just because they don't speak our language doesn't mean they don't understand. There's still something going on inside there. They still feel hate when you hate them and love when you love them," Johnson said.