When you talk to a dog, he may gaze at you and appear to be paying attention. But does he comprehend what you're saying? Joe Hanson, a biologist, explains the science behind human-dog communication in this video.
There's reason to think that dogs can distinguish between the emotion and meaning of words. As an experiment, researchers placed a dog between two audio speakers. When the dogs heard commands with a flat tone, they turned their heads to the right, suggesting that they understood word meanings in the left hemispheres of their brains. When they heard emotionally vivid gibberish, they turned their heads to the right, indicating that they understood verbal emotion with the right hemispheres of their brains.