Researchers from Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest tested their theory that a sympathetic tilt of a dog’s head could be related to their ability to process the names of objects and recognize the names of objects you mention, especially favorite toys.
According to a study published in the research journal Animal Cognition, new research suggests that “only a few dogs can learn object (toy) names even after a few exposures, while most (typical) dogs can’t.”
They hypothesized that “tilting the head is associated with processing meaningful or relevant auditory stimuli” and that dogs who could associate a word name with an object, such as their favorite toy, would tilt their head more often than dogs who could not associate a word with something.
40 dogs (Scottish Shepherd breed) participated in the research, and during three months, “respondents” learned the names of two toys.
Scientists have identified dogs that could quickly learn object names after several demonstrations as “gifted with the words they learn”, as opposed to “typical” dogs.
The study showed that the researcher’s hypothesis is correct. After trying to teach dogs the names of two toys, the researchers concluded that the gifted ones tilted their heads at a rate of 43 percent, unlike typical dogs, which tilted their heads 2 percent of the time during the study.
According to the report, “differences in dog behavior could be related to listening to meaningful words and could be a sign of increased attention.” It may also indicate better memory abilities.
Although the research seems promising, scientists agree on the need to expand the study to other races.