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Nope, you weren’t going crazy.

As any pooch parent knows, it’s impossible to not talk to your dog like an actual human being. Even though Kareem Abdul Ja-Bark won’t respond the way you want him to, you can bet a dozen rawhide donuts your four-legged friend can understand what you’re saying.

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A study first reported by the American Association for the Advancement of Science concluded dogs can interpret both what we say and how we say it.

Similarly to humans, dogs use the left hemisphere of their brain to determine what was said, and the right hemisphere to determine intonation (the inflection in how we say something).

Using this information, scientists concluded dogs are also able to determine if they are receiving high praise or not. When words of affirmation are paired with a higher inflection in the voice (which usually determines excitement), your doggo is able to tell you’re proud of them.

Now that scientists have figured out dogs have some of the same neural mechanisms as humans, they should move on to research that’s really important—like figuring out how to let us have a full-blown conversation with Fido. Get to work, scientists!