Your dog loves the sound of your voice, especially when you say certain words. And there’s a three-month-long study that proves it!

By Maddie Topliff
January 15, 2021
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OnBuy, a United Kingdom-based retailer, surveyed more than 4,000 pet owners over the course of three months in order to find out one thing: Which phrases make our pups perk up the most? 

There are many definitions of happiness and excitement, but for this study, researchers equated happiness with a dog's elevated heart rate based on a resting heart rate of 115 beats per minute (bpm) for each pooch. For humans, our resting heart rate falls typically between 60-100 bpm. Dogs are naturally just more excited!

Here are the results. Drum roll, please!

Coming in first place—winning the metaphorical gold medal—is the word "walkies," which averaged a response of 156 bpm. Wow! Better grab that leash and treat your pup to a stroll around the block or neighborhood.

happy dog looking up at camera
Credit: Capuski / Getty

Second and third place, to virtually no surprise, are both food-related. "Dinner/food/eat" and "treat" garnered responses of 152 bpm and 151 bpm respectively. Let us paraphrase: The way to a dog's heart is literally through their stomach, according to 29-year old Steve from Essex, who owns a "sausage dog" named Susie.

"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," Steve said.

Same, Susie. We identify with that so strongly.

What else does the study tell us? For one thing, dogs seem to love playtime almost as much as dinnertime—words like "get it," "fetch," and "toy" all made the top half of the list. Maybe it's time for a new toy to get Fido's attention!

Naturally, there are some words that dogs don't like as much. Spoiler: Food isn't involved. Phrases such as "roll over" and "Shall we go home?" only prompt responses of 102 bpm and 100 bpm. Yawn. Dogs like Bella the chocolate Lab aren't eager to go home if they're out and about.

"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," owners Linda and John said.

Finally, the study also shows that certain breeds react to "happy commands" more than others, including French bulldogs, beagles, rottweilers, labrador retrievers (Labs like Bella), and dachshunds, AKA "sausage dogs" in the UK (wink). So, if you're looking to adopt a new excited, happy-go-lucky pup, these breeds are a great place to start!

In the meantime, you can make any of your dogs smile—or at least get their tail wagging happily—by trying out some of the top phrases on this list!

Need a few more ideas on how to boost your dog's mood? Check out four of our best strategies for helping your pup get his spirits up.