The researchers played the dogs recorded instruction words they knew (such as “sit”), similar but nonsense words (“sut”), and then, very different nonsense words (“bep”).

Experts found that dogs, who had not been specifically trained for the experiment, could quickly and clearly tell the difference between the known instruction words and the very different nonsense words.

“The brain activity is different when they listen to the instructions, which they know, and to the very different nonsense words, which means that dogs recognize these words,” lead study author Lilla Magyari told CNN.

However, the animals did not pay attention to the small differences between known words and similar-sounding nonsense words. Instead, the canine study subjects processed them as the same word, Magyari, a postdoctoral researcher at the department of ethology at Eötvös Loránd University, told CNN.