Scientists have found that dogs use the same brain areas as humans to process language.
A study published in the journal Science showed that dogs process words with the left hemisphere and use the right hemisphere to process intonation.
Dogs register that they are being praised only if the words and intonation match, lighting up both brain areas.
This appears to confirm what many dog owners have long believed: Man's best friend cares what we say and how we say it.
Lead researcher Attila Andics, an animal behavior expert at Hungary's Eotvos Lorand University, says the findings suggest that dogs' ability to process language evolved earlier than previously thought.
Andics says what makes human communication unique is the invention of words, not the ability to process them.