Our speaking dogs

A great follow-on to Marc Bekoff’s essay.

Yesterday’s post was the concluding part of Professor Bekoff’s essay about the world of the dog’s mind. (Part One is here.)

I do hope you all read the essay because it revealed just how complex and wonderful is the brain of man’s oldest friend.

A couple of week’s ago, the UK Daily Mail newspaper published an item with the heading of: What’s your dog trying to tell YOU? Scientists discover animals’ bark can reveal whether it is scared or lonely…and can even be used to tell its gender and age.

This is how the article opened:

Ever wondered what your dog’s trying to tell you with its bark? Well, now there is a computer program able to do just that – and you’d be surprised at just what your pet is able to communicate.

Scientists developed the program after discovering dogs aren’t just trying to attract attention, or scaring off intruders when they bark.

Amazingly, the bark could also let you know the gender and age of your pet – as well as whether it is scared, happy or even lonely.

The Daily Mail quoted a very similar article that appeared in The Independent newspaper on the 29th May. The Independent article included this:

A dog bark may sound like one loud, irritating racket but scientists have discovered that they actually give away information about the animal.

Researchers have developed a computer program which can determine the sex and age of a dog through its bark – a development they say has the potential to help vets diagnose pets.

Scientists analysed 800 barks recorded from eight dogs in seven different situations and developed complex algorithms that were able to predict the gender, age and context of the barker.

The researchers said “canine communication” has been heavily studied over the past decade. However, most of the research has focused on studying how dogs understand human communication, such as hand gestures and voice recognition. This is the first time that the sex and age of domestic dogs have been predicted with the help of sound analysis, they said.

Of the two articles, the one in The Independent seems easiest on the eye so I recommend you read it in full if the subject piques your interest. However, The Daily Mail did include the following video:

They are such remarkable animals!

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