Do Labradors understand words? Pro Tips To Teach Your Dog More Words

Do you ever talk to your Labrador and feel like they almost understand what you are saying, for example, when you are talking about how bad your day was and your dog just looks at you with the “I am sorry to hear that” eyes, well, after that incident I had lots of questions such as do Labradors understand words?

So, do Labradors understand words? Labradors understand many words, some estimates say that Labs can understand more than 150 words which is above average, Labradors are in the 10 most intelligent dog breeds in the world so you can also teach them more words easier than most dogs.

If you want to know how dogs understand what we say? Then just keep on reading.

Do Labradors Understand Words? 

do labradors understand words

Labradors are a really smart breed and most of them can understand many words, however, the amount of words that your dog can learn is really up to you with a little help from their intelligence. 

However, sometimes it can be difficult for your Labrador to understand what you are telling them but they are smart enough to get the concept of how you are feeling at that moment, for example, your Lab may not understand that you are telling them that you didn’t appreciate them chewing on your shoes and ruining it but they understand from your tone that you are disappointed. 

How do dogs understand What we say? 

Dogs process language just like us, they use the right side to interpret intonation and the left side of the brain to process word meaning.

They also integrate the function of the right and left sides of the brain to reach a clearer meaning and they hear nearly twice as many frequencies as humans so they pay attention and hear us just like humans.

So your pup may not understand everything that you are saying but they can connect the meaning of the multiple words they know to the tone of your voice when you are talking to them.

“Some scientists believe that dogs understand the actual meaning of many words unrelated to the tone in which they are delivered.”

In fact, some dogs can not only understand our words but also “speak”, sort of. Watch the video below to learn more:

How many words do labradors understand? 

We all know that Labradors are pretty smart but we didn’t know exactly how smart they are. Well, the brilliance of Labradors is a lot closer to humans than we thought.

The Labrador’s mental abilities are close to a 2.5-year-old kid and they are number 7 on the smartest dog breeds list. Normal dogs can learn 165 words but the top 20 percent of the smartest dog breeds can learn up to 250.

Dogs, in general, have a basic understanding and can also count up to four or five, and are smart enough to deceive people in order to get treats or any kind of reward so the next time you think you are tricking your dog remember that they are tricking you back.

You can learn more about Canine intelligence in my post on how smart are golden retrievers here.

How to train your labrador to learn more words? 

You probably know by now that your Lab can identify and understand more than 200 words so how to train them to learn even more words? Well, let’s find out.

First of all, let’s start with the most important tip when you are talking to your dog, you should use your voice to lead your pup in any direction that you would like them to follow.

So here is how you can train your Labrador to learn more words.

  • Try when you are teaching your dog new words to show them what you mean if possible.
  • You can teach your dog a word a day.
  • Start with the words you are going to use the most with them.
  • Try to use the word all day long till you feel that your dog is caught up and when they finally do reward them.
  • The next day, don’t abandon the word that you taught them yesterday but try to keep reminding them while slipping a new word.
  • Keep repeating the process daily and at the end of the week test them to see the word that you don’t fully understand and focus on it.
  • Always use positive reinforcement for a faster process so during the training, keep praising and rewarding them.
  • (If the word you are teaching them includes directions such as right or left then always direct your pup to that direction while saying it).

If you liked this article and found it useful, you can share it with your friends and family. Also, if you have any questions, please, do not hesitate to contact us. If you are thinking of getting a Labrador, you really should check out my guide on why are Labs high maintenance and how to know whether you can handle them here first before making a final decision.

Related Questions 

Does my lab understand me? 

Yes, Labradors are a pretty smart breed and they can understand what you are telling them most of the time, they can also tell how you are feeling by the tone of your voice, so even if they don’t exactly understand what you are saying they can tell that you are disappointed by how you are talking.

Do dogs really understand what we’re saying? 

Yes, dogs do really understand what we are saying, they can understand much more than stay and stop, average dogs can understand somewhere between 100 and 200 words just like a 2-3-year-old kid, and they can understand us even better when we use different tones.

Do dogs understand our conversations? 

Yes, dogs can understand what’s going on in the conversation, they can tell what’s it about by hearing some of the words that they understand and know the rest by the tone of your voice, they can also respond to hand signals, but most of the time they won’t focus if you’re not speaking to them.

Helpful Resources 

Labrador Retrievers for Dummies by Joel Walton, Eve Adamson
 (which you can also check on Amazon here)

The Complete Labrador Handbook: The Essential Guide for New & Prospective Labrador Retriever Owners

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

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Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting and being part of our vibrant community.

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