Words Dogs Love the Most

Scientific Study Reveals The Words Dogs Love The Most

Published: 08/01/2021
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Our pups are more than just pets: they have a magic effect on our mental health by cheering us up and always being there for us during our toughest times. But what really makes our pooches happy?

Intrigued to uncover what sends our household pals into a tail-wagging frenzy, the OnBuy team conducted a three-month long study to find out which words and phrases dogs love to hear the most.

Happy cute dog

How we did it

First, we surveyed 4,389 pet owners from across the UK to uncover the words that dogs react to the most, and then collated all the responses to identify the phrases our dogs love the most. We then worked with 60 dogs of varying breeds, sizes and ages, monitoring their heart rate once each of the most common phrases were mentioned. 

To find out which words or phrases make pups the happiest, we worked out which words and phrases cause each dog’s heart rate to increase the most, taking into account their resting heart rate of 115 beats per minute (BPM).


Which words do dogs love the most?

Words / phrases BPM (Beats per minute)
Walkies Beats per minute 156
Dinner/food/eat Beats per minute 152
Treat Beats per minute 151
Get it Beats per minute 150
Fetch Beats per minute 147
Toy/Get your toy Beats per minute 144
Good boy/girl Beats per minute 139
What’s that? Beats per minute 135
Their name Beats per minute 128
Find it Beats per minute 124
Biscuit Beats per minute 119
Paw Beats per minute 117
Come on then Beats per minute 110
Speak Beats per minute 105
Roll over Beats per minute 102
Shall we go home? Beats per minute 100

The top five words dogs love the most

Happy Frenchie

Dog leads at the ready… We discovered that ‘walkies’ is the word dogs love the most and the perfect way to show your dog that you love them! Our study found that the heart rate of our four-legged companions increased by a whopping 36% once the phrase was mentioned. 

Nadia, 35 from Birmingham, with her two dogs Duke and Frank, had this to say: 

‘I have two lovely Rottweilers and every time the word “walkies” is mentioned, it’s close to the reaction you’d get if England won the World Cup! My husband and I now have to spell out the word to each other.’

In second place, and closely following ‘walkies’, are the words ‘dinner’, ‘food’, and ‘eat’ raising our pooches heart rates to an average of 152 BPM – an increase of 32% from their resting heart rate. 

Normally given for praise, is it any wonder that ‘treat’ makes the top three words dogs love the most? This tail-wagging term increases doggy heart rates by 31%, reaching an average of 151 BPM across all dog breeds in our study. 

Steve, 29 from Essex, and his sausage dog Susie got involved with this three-month experiment. He said: 

‘Susie loves her treats – goes absolutely barking mad for them. So much so that I’ve now had to move the treat jar in different locations, so she doesn’t know what I’m going for – bless her little legs.’

In fourth place, sending our pets’ heart racing, is the phrase ‘get it’, with our pooches’ heart rates increasing by an average 30% to 150 BPM. Following closely behind is the word ‘fetch’, which boosts doggie heart rates to 147 BPM, on average (28% increase)! 

Scottish Terrier Jesse is owned by 46-year-old Nathan and 52-year-old Dave, who said: 

‘We could play fetch with Jesse for hours – it’s one of her favourite activities! She loves it so much we had to buy her one of those automatic ball throwers as she was wearing us out. She loves it though.’


Which breeds were the most excited by ‘happy' commands?

breed of dog

The top five breeds that got the most excited by ‘happy’ commands were French Bulldogs, Beagles, Rottweilers, Labrador Retrievers, and Dachshunds (aka sausage dogs)! 

Our study found that French Bulldogs get the most excited when their owners said ‘happy’ commands, with each phrase increasing their resting heart rate by 28%! Following closely behind are Beagles, with their resting heart rate increasing by 26% on average. 

Proud Beagle owner Lisa, 27 from Surrey said: 

‘I wish I could say I was surprised but Betty is like a whirlwind! From walkies to fetch, she’s always running about and after your attention.’

The native German Rottweiler comes in third place, with ‘happy’ commands increasing doggy heart rates by an average of 23%! Fourth place goes to one of the most popular dogs in the world: Labrador Retrievers. After hearing ‘walkies’, ‘treat’ and other words and phrases, a Labrador’s resting heart rate increases by 21% on average. 

Securing the final spot for the top five are Dachshunds – more commonly known as the sausage dog – with this breed’s heart rate increasing by 18%, on average, when hearing ‘happy’ commands.


The five words dogs least love to hear

Have a happy dog

Our research can exclusively reveal that the least loved words and phrases by dogs are ‘shall we go home?’, ‘roll over’, ‘speak’, ‘come on then’, and ‘paw’.

The phrase ‘shall we go home?’ resulted in the dogs in our study having an average heart rate of 100 BPM – a 13% decrease from their resting heart rate of 115 BPM. It’s no wonder that this phrase doesn’t get pups excited, as why would they want to give up their play time

Linda, 53 and John, 57 are proud owners of a three-year-old chocolate Labrador named Bella who took part in our study. They said: 

‘Bells is still relatively young and hates leaving the park! We literally have to bribe her – so we’re not surprised this was her least favourite phrase. She just loves the outdoors.’

The second least favourite phrase is ‘roll over’, with dogs’ heart rates reaching 102 BPM, on average – a decrease of 11% from the average dog’s resting BPM. 

Following closely behind is the word ‘speak’, reducing dogs’ heart rates to 105 BPM on average. Frank, 29 from London, and his Bulldog Gladstone took part in our three-month experiment:

‘I feel like Gladstone has got to the point now where he’s fed up with me talking to him. Not being as social as I normally am, I’ve turned to Glads for a lot of day and night-time talks. So, I’m not surprised he’s had enough of the word speak.’

Come on then’ ranks in fourth place, with the phrase causing our pups’ heart rates to reach 110 BPM, on average. The word ‘paw’ followed, resulting in an average heart rate of just 117 BPM.


Methodology*:

  1. OnBuy.com also surveyed 7,389 dog owners across the UK to find out which phrases get their dogs most excited. The list of phrases used include: ‘walkies’, ‘dinner’, ‘food’, ‘eat’, ‘treat’, ‘get it’, ‘fetch’, ‘toy’, ‘get your toy’, ‘good boy’, ‘good girl’, ‘what’s that?’, the dog’s name, ‘find it’, ‘come on then’, ‘biscuit’, ‘paw’, ‘speak’, ‘roll over’, and ‘shall we go home?’.
  2. Analysts at OnBuy.com then looked at the 15 most popular dogs (10 of each breed), all varying in sizes. They chose 50 small dogs/puppies, 50 medium dogs, and 50 large dogs. Then looked at the resting average for all dogs by bevsvt.com (115 BPM).
  3. Once the average BPM was uncovered, OnBuy analysed the heart rate of every dog when each phrase was mentioned, noting down the results, and ranking the phrases and breeds.


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