The way that our pets bond with us is often a mysterious thing, but a new study from ötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary finds that dogs may understand far more than we think they do. Their study has been published in the journal Science in 2016.
To conduct the experiment, researchers took 13 dogs, mostly golden retrievers and border collies, and put them in an fMRI scanner. While they were inside the machine, the dogs heard praise words spoken in neutral tones, and neutral words spoken with energy and enthusiasm.
As the animals were monitored in the fMRI machine, the researchers saw that they responded to the praise words spoken rather than the tone they were spoken in. Even more interesting, the dog's brains respond to the praise words in the left hemisphere of the brain, the same place where human language centers can be found.
Now I do have questions about the validity of a survey with such a small sample size but I also know that dogs and humans have a very complex relationship with each other. For more details, check out this article on HuffPo.