Wanna Speak Dog? Ask A Ten-Year-Old

Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

A new study, published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science suggests there may be a real universal animal language. Seems humans have a natural ability to understand “dog speak” and it peaks at about age 10.  Dogs and humans have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship for eons, with selective breeding from wolves occurring over the centuries. Scientists know that species eavesdrop on each other in the wild with squirrels understanding the language of some birds and vice versa. However, this is one of the  first inquiries into  just what humans have picked up over the years

To run the study, Scientist Péter Pongrácz of Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, asked children (aged 6, 8 and 10 years) and adults to listen to different types of  dog barks. “Some of the barks were recorded when dogs were alone. Others were recorded when dogs were playing or encountering strangers. The listeners had to categorize the barks correctly by matching them to human facial expressions: fearful/lonely, angry, playful.

All of the listeners could easily tell when dogs were angry. Only the older kids, however, correctly understood the other types of barks. They scored about the same as adults.”  The study team has also conducted similar tests with blind subjects and found they,too, have an innate sense of understanding the inner feelings of dogs just from their barking sounds.

 Source: Discovery News

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

14 thoughts on “Wanna Speak Dog? Ask A Ten-Year-Old

  1. I watched a Nature program last week on PBS about a man who spoke “wild-turkey’. It was a fascinating window into wildlife behavior and communication.

  2. David,
    interesting story. I think I can tell what my dog is barking about most of the time, but sometimes he is smelling or seeing something that I just can hear or see.

  3. Excellent. Now when I tell people that I speak fluent dog like my grandfather before me, I have evidence to point to instead of simply poetic licence.

  4. Because we can understand a language does not create symbiosis. Even living together does not create symbiosis.

    The deepest meaning is one not biologically able to live without the other.

    So, dog-human “symbiosis” is not a species thing, it is a personal thing depending on individual sentiments.

    Go to the dog pound to see vast numbers of them put to death each day because … well, not because we can’t live without them.

    We have love for them, but love does not a symbiont make, biologically.

    Microbes, on the other hand, which we should also learn to love, are symbiont to humans, in the true sense of the word.

    One day we may discover the planet we live on.

    Maybe the dogs could help … “If we could talk to the animals …” – Dr. Doolittle

    Are there any global warming denier dogs out there?

  5. I appreciate this Mark….I have a 3 month old Blue Heeler-Beagle mix…I wish I was in touch with my inner child….then I could figure out what the hell he is saying…

  6. Blouise, “My Life As A Turkey”. That was a great documentary, I enjoyed it immensely. It made me want to become a turkey-mom. :-)

  7. Dredd, I have heard it said to the effect that DNA invented us to maximize its potential for survival, LOL. Considering the universe of symbiotic bacteria we are colonized by and can’t live without, that we would be giant, mobile habitats, constructed in major part by our inhabitants doesn’t sound so far-fetched.

  8. Lottakatz 1, November 28, 2011 at 4:55 am

    Dredd, I have heard it said to the effect that DNA invented us to maximize its potential for survival, LOL. Considering the universe of symbiotic bacteria we are colonized by and can’t live without, that we would be giant, mobile habitats, constructed in major part by our inhabitants doesn’t sound so far-fetched.
    ======================
    I remember some of that too. Some scientists wrote as if DNA was sentient.

    With 35% or so of the atmosphere composed of microbes, the ocean filled with them, and the land filled with them, it still was a surprise to me that we humans have 10 microbe cells for each 1 human cell, that they take part in our brain growth, and have an effect on the amygdala.

    And “we” communicate constantly with “them”.

    I guess the better statement in light of the recent discoveries is our microbe cells talk to our human cells and vice versa.

    Seems difficult to even say it yet.

    It is just that 98% of our cognitive activity is “underground”, subconscious, and we can’t yet listen in on most of the dialogue.

    Maybe we should check with that kid Mark posted about who can speak canine?!

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