• Robin Walker

Furry-Eared Friends

Updated: Jan 12, 2019

My rescue dog, Nittany

I’m fairly certain I’m not the only person who has had one-sided conversations with their furry-eared friends. Dogs are, after all, very good listeners even though they haven’t the foggiest idea what we’re saying most of the time. By the time their sense of hearing has developed, they can already hear 4 times the distance of a human with normal hearing.

It is not surprising to believe that dogs hear better than we do given their intense listening skills but it is more likely due to the fact that dogs’ ears are controlled by up to 18 muscles while humans are equipped with only six and can only move their ears slightly, if at all. In addition, some dogs’ ears are shaped such that they amplify the sound. Their ear canals are considerably longer than the human counterpart. Muscles allow it to finely tune the position of this inner ear canal so that it can localize a sound, hear it more accurately, and from farther away.

Hear that?—Your best furry-eared friends may not only be your best friends but also your whole house, high-tech alarm system.

A recent study found that, like us, dogs process verbal and non-verbal parts of speech in different hemispheres of the brain. Elements of language are processed in the left hemisphere, and emotional connotation is processed in the right hemisphere. Additional, researchers point out that this study doesn’t prove dogs have a complete understanding of all the emotional parts of speech, but they do pay attention to what we say and can hear the meaning of human speech and the emotion within it. How we say a command provides dogs with a better understanding of what we are trying to convey. Which command do you think will work better with your furry-eared friends?

“Hey there… fetch the ball, ok good you've found it now bring it here.”


“Go!, —Find the ball!, You've found it? Bravo, now bring it here!”

If you choose the second command then you are definitely on your way to emotionally connecting with your furry-eared friends.

Dogs are selfless, extremely loyal, and just downright lovable. Let's face it, your furry-eared friends are probably way better people than you or I could ever hope to be. They may not entirely understand your conversation about why you are having a bad day, but they will hang on to your every word while hearing their favorite thing–--your voice.

#dogs #bestfriend #rescuedogs #UniversityofSussex www.robinwalkerdesigns

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