A new study shows that pups can pick out their owner without the help of scent and sight
Of course, your dog’s ears always perk up with every “good boy” and call for walk time. But a new study shows that your dog can recognize your voice on a way deeper level.
Researchers at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest set out to prove dogs don’t need smell and sight to pick their owners out from others. They know you by your voice alone, and this is exciting in the animal science world.
If only all science lab experiments were this fun! Get this - the study was an elaborate game of hide-and-seek.
Researchers tested 28 dogs with the task of picking out their owners over 14 strangers, by having people talking and recordings playing in hidden places around the lab. What’s even more endearing about this study is that the voices all read “various recipes” in neutral voices.
To ensure the dogs weren't relying on their extraordinary sense of smell, the study also had the owners’ voices playing in the same spots where the strangers hid. The dogs ended up using the same sound instincts as we humans do, listening for pitch and noisiness.
The dogs nailed it with an 82% success rate, which in science-land is pretty much a win. The researchers were pleasantly surprised.
The study results have more applications than making us feel good our dogs know us well. The fact that canines can pick out our voices means a lot for common separation anxiety, as the scientists say that voices over the phone can also be recognized.
As people return to the office after a year of working at home with their pets during the pandemic, a phone call could ease the change and curb a dog’s loneliness.
The team at the Budapest university - which focuses a lot on dog research - also recently found that pooches can tell different languages apart, knowing when their mother tongue isn’t being spoken. That study (which we’ll soon be reporting) essentially shows that dogs are bilingual. Quelle surprise!
And if you want to nerd out and read the entire voice study, it was recently published in the science journal Animal Cognition.