Dog barking: A specific way of dog–human communication

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  • the acoustic parameters of dog barking are situation specific(Yin, 2002) and that free-ranging feral dogs do not bark (Boi-tani and Ciucci, 1995). Our hypothesis is that dog barkingevolved to its recent form during domestication and servesas a means for interspecific communication with humans.We collected bark samples in 6 distinct contexts, from morethan 40 dogs of the Mudi breed (Hungarian herding dog). Ina series of playback experiments, we asked people ofdifferent age groups, different dog experience, and differentvisual abilities to categorize bark samples by their contextand emotional content. We conducted playback and com-puterized artificial intelligence analysis for testing theacoustic parameters, which play a key role in determiningthe information content of dog barks.

    Journal of Veterinary Behavior, Vol 4, No 2, March/April 2009preceded the play signal with the attention getter more oftenthan the inverse (c25 9.52, df5 1, P, 0.01).Dogs used attention getters more often when their partnerswere looking away than throughout the bouts (P[away] 50.82,P[bout]5 0.34; z5 4.93, n5 33 bouts,P, 0.001). Fur-ther, dogs used morevisual attention getters when their partnerhad their side to them (z5 1.93, n5 19 bouts, P5 0.0536),and dogs directed more tactile attention getters to dogs whowere looking away or distracted (z 5 2.37, n 5 33 bouts, P5 0.0178). When a partner was socially distracted, tactile at-tention getters were used more often than visual attention get-ters (z5 2.22, n5 12 bouts, P5 0.0264).Play behaviors were differentially used according to thepartners posture. Play signals were sent nearly exclusivelyto forward-facing conspecifics; attention-getting behaviors

    54were used most often when a playmate was facing away,and before signaling an interest to play. In addition, themode of attention getter matched the degree of inattentive-ness of the playmate; stronger attention getters were usedwhen a playmate was looking away or distracted, and lessforceful ones when the partner was facing forward orlaterally. The current evidence provides support for theclaim that dogs can use behavioral indications of elementsof attention in others to guide their own behavior.

    Key words: visual attention cues; play signaling; socialcognition; communication


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    DOG BARKING: A SPECIFIC WAY OF DOGHUMANCOMMUNICATIONPeter Pongracz*, Csaba Molnar, Adam MiklosiDepartment of Ethology, Eotvos Lorand University,Institute of Biology, Hungary*Corresponding author:

    The acoustic repertoire of dogs was compared to relatedspecies (gray wolf, coyote), and barking was the mostcharacteristic vocalization of dogs from the aspect of qualityand quantity (Tembrock, 1976). The possible function of dogbarking has been debated for decades, and no clear evidencehas been found for any role in dogdog communication (Co-hen and Fox, 1976). Recent investigations have shown thatAdults recognize correctly the context of dog barkingabove chance level, regardless of their experiences withdogs and visual abilities. Small children and adults evaluatealmost equally well the inner state of dogs after hearingtheir barks. Frequency, tonality, and the pulsing of dogbarking proved to be essential parameters of contextual andemotional content of dog barking. Self-teaching soundanalyzing software successfully identified not only thecontext of barking, but the dogs as well.Our experiments proved that humans can derive informationabout context and the dogs inner state from their barks. Theacoustic variability of barks provides a big potential for thistype of dog vocalization to become a unique tool ofinterspecific communication between dogs and humans.

    Key words: Dog; acoustic communication; barking;domestication


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    wolves. Ethol. Ecol. Evol 7, 4972.

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    fects of domestication. Behav. Processes 1, 7792.

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    Yin, S., 2002. A new perspective on barking in dogs (Canis familiaris). J.

    Comp. Psychol 116, 189193.


    INTERMODAL REPRESENTATION IN DOGSAkiko Takaoka1,*, Ayako Morisaki2, Kazuo Fujita11Department of Psychology, Graduate School of Letters,Kyoto University, Japan2Department of Psychology, Otani University, Japan*Corresponding author:

    We investigated whether dogs (Canis familiaris) recognizethe callers gender when they hear an unfamiliar personcalling them and actively generate visual representationof the person of the corresponding gender. We used across-modal expectancy violation procedure used in Adachiet al. to explore this issue, intermodal transformation ofrepresentation in dogs.

    Outline placeholderThe acoustic repertoire of dogs was compared to related species (gray wolf, coyote), and barking was the most characteristic vocalization of dogs...