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Can dogs talk?

Updated on March 11, 2012

Dog experts and a lot of dog owners believe that dogs can talk. Talking after all is defined as communicating or expressing one’s thoughts by using audible means. Dogs can definitely convey their message and humans that care to listen would understand what the dogs want to impart. Of course dogs don’t talk the way humans do. The vocal sounds dogs produce may be interpreted as talking by a pet owner wishfully hoping that the dog can speak. Dogs do not use words to speak. Instead, our four legged friends use a variety of body movements along with barking, growling and whining.

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A talking dog

A dog talking glibly and clearly the same way humans do is only seen in animated movies. Dogs are not capable of human speech although some dogs were trained to make garbled sounds that resemble human phrases. This feat though is not the dog’s usual means of communication. When these animals communicate with each other they use their own language which as expected cannot be understood by humans.

A dog’s own language

Dogs howl, bark, whine, yelp, growl. Different breeds of dogs make different sounds. Dog with narrow heads produce a more shrill bark. Brachycephalic dogs make rounded booming sounds. But it seems that these dogs understand each other just the same. This would make you wonder if there is a universal language for dogs. Dogs may have their own language but with the use of varied body movements, a discerning pet owner will understand what the pet is trying to convey.

A dog’s speech center

Studies done on canine vocalization have verified the reason why dogs are unable to produce human words. Although humans and dogs have many genetic similarities, it was shown that dogs do not have a well developed speech center. The structure of the dog’s mouth, lips and tongue will not allow easy formation of words so that even if the dog was taught to produce human words, what would come out would be garbled sounds. Moreover, a dog’s vocal chords are not configured for speaking. Dog’s vocal chords are thicker as compared to what humans have. Dogs are unable to produce a wide range of sounds as thick vocal chords are less sensitive to stretching.

Intelligent imitation

Dogs are intelligent creatures. They also possess an inherent willingness to please. These characteristics make dog training easy. A pet parent would naturally want to have a pet that can do tricks. Some dogs are smarter than others. Others will respond well to training while others would have an “off for lunch” sign on the forehead. A dog owner would be very lucky if the pet demonstrates excellent tonal imitation. A lot of dogs were trained to do tricks. Dogs were trained to sing and to speak. Making the dog repeat a phrase over and over again will eventually make the dog talk. The spiel would be a botched up version of the human language but who’s complaining. Not many dogs can accomplish this feat.

It would certainly be nice if the dog can say Thank you for the treat you have given. Dogs may not be able to voice out what they feel but if humans would take time to understand the meaning of the sounds produced by the pet, everything would be A-okay.

Husky Dog Talking - " I love you "

Dogs can talk

Dog Talk


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