Do you talk to your dog like he’s a human being? Does he listen to you affectionately calling him all sorts of cute names or asking him questions? If you’ve been wondering why you should talk to your dog, there’s some science behind it.
I own a spoiled, loving German Shorthaired Pointer mix to which I talk to. A lot. She doesn’t seem to mind at all. And I can’t help myself. If you’re also doing this, know you’re certainly not alone.
When we talk to our dogs, we’re anthropomorphizing
It seems like us dog owners who get chatty with our pooches are actually smart people. We’re doing something called anthropomorphizing. I know it sounds fancy, but what this word actually means is we’re attributing human traits to our furry friends. And yes, it’s the same if you talk to your cat, or your iguana or whatever pet you have.
And just to prove you’re an actual human, you should know we’re the only species (on this planet at least) capable of anthropomorphizing. It’s true animals are able to communicate with each other but when it comes to assigning a personality to another animal that’s something only humans can do.
Nicholas Epley, a behavioral science professor at the University of Chicago, told Quartz in an interview that anthropomorphizing is a natural result of the human intelligence. He also says this process derives from our brain’s most powerful ability since recognizing the mind of another person uses the same psychological processes as recognizing a mind in other animals.
As a result, if you ever wondered if there’s a reason why you should talk to your dog or even felt ashamed doing it, know there’s nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, you’re just proving you’re the highly evolved being called human.
And your dog gets it too
Talking to your dog is more than just about making yourself feel good. Fido actually understands the meanings of words and doesn’t just notice your intonation to figure out your emotions. So yes, you can keep talking to your pooch – he probably understands a lot more than you can imagine.
Dogs are amazing animals and not because they’re smart (there are other smart animals too) but because they can bond with us humans in ways words cannot describe. But it seems that words do help and not just for giving commands and praise for good behavior but also for simply sharing our feelings with our wonderful fur babies.
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