Not sure what your dog’s barking always means? Is he hungry? Does she need to go outside? Or does he just want to talk to someone?
A new study involving computer software is breaking down what a dog’s barking means and how they communicate with us and canine friends.
Computer software is able to distinguish individual dogs by their barks and suggests that specific barks are like a “universal language” which can be used with other dogs.
A research team at the EÃ¶tvÃ¶s LorÃ¡nd University in Budapest, Hungary, recorded 6,000 barks of 14 Hungarian sheepdogs in a range of situations: when approached by a stranger, during play, during a fight, and when the dog was alone.
The recordings of the barks were then put through an artificial neural network which identified key audio features of each bark. The research team found that the software could identify the situation in which the dog’s bark was recorded.
The software was able to correctly identify a dog barking at a stranger in 63% of the cases, but it could only correctly identify a dog’s bark while playing only 6% of the time.
Also, 60 percent of the time, the software was able to distinguish between different dogs barking while they were playing, but while dogs were barking at strangers, the software was able to only distinguish individual dogs about 30 percent of the time.
The leader of the research team said, “In this context, every dog barks singularly. But in a play situation, there has been no strict selection for creating a uniform bark among dogs, so each has its own individual style.”
Juliane Kaminski of the Max Planck Institute, Leipzig, Germany, said, “In play situations, dogs have many opportunities to learn something about the correlation between their vocalizations and the human’s behaviour: ‘which variation in my bark elicits what type of behaviour in the human? In fight situations, the dog barks aggressively and the human runs away, end of story.”
Brian Hare at Duke University added, “People used to say dogs are really boring because they were artificially created by humans. But actually that’s exactly why they’re really cool.”
Source: ABC News