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Why can’t dogs talk?

Updated on February 18, 2012

Dogs can’t talk. Humans can’t bark. In spite of this fact humans and dogs have become steadfast friends. Both have enjoyed the company of each other. Dogs depend on the human family for their basic needs. People provide the dog not only with adequate shelter and a regular supply of food but necessary measures that will promote the well being of the pet.  Not many people have realized though that dog owners depend on the dog as well. Once you have a dog in your doorstep you can sleep soundly at night as the dog will not allow trespassers to enter the home. The important roles guide dogs perform need not be explained.

Dogs are very important additions to the family that makes the quality of life so much better. This is why we worry so much if the dog is off color. How we wish the pet can talk so that we would know what it is feeling. Dogs communicate with people and with other animals through barking, whining, tail wagging and through various body movements. Why can’t dogs talk?

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A human’s vocal cords

The vocal cords of humans are thin narrow strips of flesh in the throat. At the slightest stretching these bands will vibrate in different frequencies thereby producing wide ranges of sounds. Because human vocal cords are sensitive even to the slightest stretching they get damaged easily. After shouting continuously for a while humans would get a harsh voice.

A dog’s vocal cords

A dog’s vocal cords are less sensitive as compared to human’s vocal cords because they are much thicker. These cords are designed to make sounds not words. Because canine vocal cords are thicker and less sensitive they don’t get damaged easily. The continuous vibration of a dog barking incessantly will not damage the cords thus the dog’s voice will not suffer.

Other reasons why dogs can’t talk

The mouth, the throat, the tongue and the voice box of canines are not configured so that they can talk. Humans can make different sounds because of a well developed speech center. Dogs don’t have this capability. Unlike humans dogs don’t use their tongues and their lips very well so that they can not form words.

Is it possible to teach a dog to talk?

Dogs are very intelligent animals. A very patient owner that would keep on teaching the dog to talk may be successful in doing so. It was noted that some brachycephalic breeds (big heads and short muzzles) like the Bulldog can be taught to talk because the rather roomy mouth can make rounder sounds. The words produced though would be garbled and only the trainer will understand.


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