Have you heard about the new study that suggests dogs can talk to humans? Well, kind of. Don’t get too excited, they haven’t suddenly become great conversationalist or mastered human language. You won’t be inviting them to your book club or discussing the latest dog movie with him. Still, it’s kind of fascinating! If you haven’t heard about it, don’t worry! We have all the details!
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Study Shows that Dogs Can Talk to Humans…Kind Of
A new study indicates that dogs can actually communicate with humans, by making them understand what they are trying to say when they growl. During the study, 40 volunteers were asked to listen to 18 dogs that had their growls recorded. The recording showcased the dogs growling as they played a game of tug-of-war, guarded their food and faced a threatening stranger.
The recordings were 10 seconds long and featured low background noise from male and female dogs of various dog breeds and mongrels. At the end of the recordings, the volunteers were asked to rate each of the growls based on five aspects: aggression, despair, fear, happiness and playfulness.
The study was conducted at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary, by Dr. Tamas Farago, who has a PhD in Biology and specializes in dog growls as communicative signals, and his team. The study and its results were published in the Royal Society Open Science Journal. The publication is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that was established in September of 2014, by The President, Council, and Fellows of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, or the Royal Society, as it is commonly known as.
The study showed that 63% of the participants correctly guessed why each of the dogs were growling. When breaking the numbers down, it showed that 81% of the volunteers detected the tug-of-war growls, while 60% detected the food guarding growls and 50% detected facing the threatening stranger growls.
The bottom line of the study showed that dog owners could actually understand what their dog was trying to communicate by listening closely to the length and pitch of their growls. The shorter growls sent a more positive message, while growls that were high-pitched sent a more intense message.
Dr. Tamas Farago and his team concluded, after the study, “Our results … indicate that dogs communicate honestly their size and inner state in serious contest situations, where confrontation would be costly, such as during guarding of their food from another dog. According to our results, adult humans seem to understand and respond accordingly to this acoustic information during cross-species interactions with dogs.”