Dog Talk - a bark is more than a barkJust like a a dog’s wag means more than you think, a dog’s bark is more than just a bark and a dog knows the difference between barks. A mother can tell the difference between her child’s cries and sometimes a pet parent can tell the difference between their dog’s barks so it really comes as no surprise that a dog can identify and understand ‘dog talk’ to a degree that we cannot even guess yet.

Now studies that are done can only go so far when it comes to telling how much a dog can tell from another dog’s barking because they can’t talk to us and tell us but just using a heart rate monitor in one such study it was obvious that they understood the ‘stranger is here’ bark as being more important than the ‘I’m alone and want attention’ bark.

We know that animals communicate and we know that dogs can be quite intelligent but knowing it and knowing the degree of understanding may lead to a deeper understanding of canine communication in the future.  A computer has analyzed dog barks coded them and has actually been able to classify them according to meaning and individual dog.  If a computer can do this, you can bet a dog can too.

Some are more easily classified, such a ‘fight’ and ‘stranger’.  I would think this would follow along with human speech where a person screaming for help or in distress would be easily differentiated from someone yelling in happy excitement.  Even if you didn’t understand they words, the ‘tone’ would alert you.  Same with dogs, they are more attuned to another dog barking in an ‘alert’ situation than a ‘playful’ situation.

As study after study shows, our canine companions are more intelligent and complex than  we ever knew.  If a dog can ‘listen’ to us and understand to a degree, can use cognitive reasoning to analyze abstract concepts such a photographs, have and understand their own complex language, just what else can they do and understand?

Every day dogs work along side human companions in many different capacities from service dogs to companions, from law enforcement to protection.  They assist us, alert us, protect us.  They give their love unconditionally and most live only to please.  They are highly social.

So next time you think ‘dumb dog’, think again! Slowly but surely we’re finding out just how ‘smart’ and intelligent dogs really are.  Just because we’re ignorant of the true depths  and don’t completely understand them certainly doesn’t mean they’re ‘dumb’, maybe we’re the dumb ones!

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