Shared Blog Post – Dog brains are tuned to dog-directed speech spoken by women

Shared Blog Post – Dog brains are tuned to dog-directed speech spoken by women

< Updated 2023-08-23 >

Dog brains are tuned to dog-directed speech spoken by women was published at on August 22, 2023, by Eötvös Loránd
University. Below is a link to the complete study, published at

For a short video describing the study, go to

This article reports that, like an infant human, a dog is more likely to focus on higher-pitched voices that vary the pitch of their voice while speaking. This was confirmed by looking at the dog’s brain with functional magnetic resonance imaging while 12 men and 12 women spoke to the
dogs like they would to an adult human, an infant human, and as many of us talk to dogs, with a higher pitched voice. The auditory cortical region of the dog’s brain was more responsive to “baby talk” than adult-directed speech, especially when the speakers were women. Women tend to speak at a higher pitch and with more variation in their voice.

Reflections from Don -Before I took my first dog training class as a student, I had unfortunately read a book all about dominance and the need to speak to a dog in an authoritative voice. When the class instructor, a female, suggested I use a higher pitch, I refused, thinking she was an idiot. A few years later, I learned I was the idiot. Sadly, I still have to convince some male students that a higher-pitched voice works better in getting the dog’s attention.

Important Information for Pet Parents

A dog pays more attention when we speak with a higher pitch and more variation, like we often talk to a baby. Because females
tend to do this more frequently, and since most men are afraid to speak in such a manner, dogs are often more responsive to females and pre-pubescent children. The need to give cues to a dog in a deep, booming, domineering voice is a myth created by those who still believe in the dominance myth and is more likely to cause the dog to fear you than to adore you.

To Read the entire paper, go to

Don Hanson lives in Bangor, Maine, where he is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( and the founder of, an online educational resource for people with dogs and cats. He is a Professional Canine Behavior Consultant (PCBC-A) accredited by the Pet Professional Accreditation Board (PPAB) and a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP). Don is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG), serving on the Board of Directors and Steering Committee and chairing the Advocacy Division. He is also a founding director of Pet Advocacy International (PIAI). In addition, Don produces and co-hosts The Woof Meow Show podcast, available at, the Apple Podcast app, and this blog. The opinions in this article are those of Don Hanson.

© Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved

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