News Stories

Dog Talk

When your dog barks, he may be trying to tell you something.Scientists now think that dogs use different barks tocommunicate different ideas and can even count. (Theycertainly know the word "walk" when they hear it).

Researchers at the University of California recorded thebarks of 10 dogs of six different breeds and conclude thatdogs use different barks in different situations. A singlehigh-pitched bark means, "Where has my owner gone?" while alower-pitched, harsher "superbark" says, "There's a strangercoming." Robert Young of the Pontifical Catholic University in Braziland Rebecca West of the University of Lincoln in the U.K.tested the mathematical abilities of 11 mongrels, usingdoggie treats. The snacks were hidden behind a screen, thenrevealed to the dogs. After the screen was lowered again,the researchers secretly changed the number of treats orleft them as they were, then gave the dogs another look.

They found that the dogs stared at the treats much longer ifthere was a different number than before, showing that dogshave at least some ability to count.

Young feels this could have been important when dogs werewild animals, living in packs. He says, "The dog evolvedfrom the wolf only 12,000 years ago. Wolves live insophisticated social groups where knowing the number ofallies and the number of enemies you have in a group wouldbe very important in determining whether a behavioralstrategy, for example trying to take over the group, wouldbe successful or not."

So next time your dog barks, don?t just yell, ?Shut Up!?Listen: He?s trying to tell you something. Or learn tocommunicate with him psychically (it?s much quieter). Read?Is Your Pet Psychic?? by RichardWebster,clickhere.

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