Dogs are largely known for their ability to cooperate with humans and they’ve been doing just that since the Neolithic age. We also know that they are able to understand and learn human words, like sit, heel, stay, and if trained, they obey to these commands. But how many words can a dog learn?
There are some special dogs that have demonstrated to know tones of different toy names, and this is amazing. Chaser, who was known as the world’s smartest dog knew over 1000 words. This is the same amount of words an average, healthy, 3 years old child knows. Dogs learn words in the same way as human kids do, when they meet a new, unfamiliar one.
We know from the experiments with another dog, Ricoh, that they can differentiate new information from known information. As an experiment, 20 toys were placed in front of Ricoh, from which he only knew 19. When he got the command to bring the unfamiliar toy, he was able to recognise which item the instructor was talking about, by combining old and new information.
Animal communication is very different from human language. Us, humans can not only talk about currently happening events, but past, future, and completely fictional events too. But human language evolved from a much simpler form of communication as well. Special dogs similar to Chaser and Ricoh, can help scientists in understanding the mystery of the evolution of human language. For this, some researchers from the Ethology Department at ELTE in Budapest, have launched the Genious Dog Challenge. With this, they aim to show the wonderful abilities of these special dogs and also to find more dogs that can learn tones of words. You can check out the first show on their Facebook page. If you are a dog lover don’t miss this opportunity!