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How many words can your dog understand?

A new study by psychologists at Dalhousie University has found that the average dog can understand 89 different words.

Chances are your precious pooch is just ignoring you when it doesn’t respond to commands because this study is proof that dogs are even smarter than we thought.

The new research has found that a dog’s vocabulary can range from 15 to 215 words, with an average of 89. So if your dog isn’t listening maybe they’re on the lower end of that scale… Or they are just rude.

Photo: Karolina Grabowska

165 dog owners completed a survey that was modelled around checklists that are used by puppy-parents to get a gauge for how well their fur child’s language is developing. The dog owners indicated the way their dog responded to a range of words and phrases using a five-point scale from ‘never’ to ‘often/most times’.

As you probably could have guessed, the majority of these words are commands, but the survey shows that dogs can understand the names of family, neighbours and even the name of your vet.

Surprisingly, almost 10% of dogs would respond to the commands, “wipe your feet” and “whisper”. While other more astonishing words were household related, such as window”“living room”, “upstairs” and “garbage”.

There were some really wholesome words on the list too, like “kiss”, “hug”, the names of other pets and “I love you” (awwwww!).

On top of the 175 generic words and phrases provided by the researchers, participants added a whopping 1,858 more that their dog understood.

So it wasn’t all commands. Sometimes you just have to speak to your dog because you need a chat.

The researchers picked up on a few different factors that could indicate the number of words a dog was likely to understand.

Dogs with specified professions responded to more words, which was put down to a higher learning speed because they’ve had more training.

The age of the dog didn’t seem to matter in relation to their understanding of words. Meaning that a five-month-old puppy who went to obedience training would probably have a vocabulary that’s similar to a much older dog that has only been trained by its owner.

So there are some new words you can teach your furry friend, and hey, maybe you can even get them to stop treading mud through the carpet.