I don't have kids, so I don't have to set any sort of example when I'm at home. So when I'm talking to my pets I will sometimes use swear words towards them.

Like if they run into a wall while they're playing with a toy, I'll call them dumb, or if I'm holding out a treat for them and they act like they want me to bring it to them, I'll usually say something like: "come here you little [explicitive]".

I know non-human animals don't speak our language, so they rely on the tone of our voice to understand what we mean.

So is it okay for me to swear at my pets since my tone of voice isn't angry? Or am I demoralizing them in some way?


1 Answer 1


You can say what you like to your pets; they can't understand a word. Probably. We know tt's the tone of voice and body language that they interpret, but they can understand some words. Their brains can differentiate between sit and stay. This is a very interesting article, about a study of how dogs process voices and sound.

What the study indicates is that dogs dissociate and process the components of communication in human speech in a broadly similar way to humans.

This isn't to say that they understand swears though. You can say "come here you litter f*er" in the nicest voice ever, and your pet will be happy. You can say "I love you, you beautiful creature" in an angry voice and he/she will think you're angry.

However, remember that dogs pick up on frequent words. If you call him by a swear too often he may associate this as his name, which is bound to get confusing.

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