Dogs Barks’ Have Meaning, Researcher Says

Different types of dog barks mean different things, according to research.

Several dog species have learned to communicate with humans via an increasing spectrum of barking sounds, according to a researcher with a German zoological institute.

“Some of the more modern dog species like the terrier and sheepdog have a wide barking spectrum which is intended as a means of communication with man,” according to Dorit Feddersen-Petersen of the Zoological Institute at the University of Kiel.

Feddersen-Petersen, quoted in the latest issue of the German magazine Dogs, said that canines had learned many nuances of communication during the 14,000 years they’ve lived with humans.

A high-pitched barking coupled with tail wagging and the paws pressed to the ground mean, “Play with me,” while a deep bark with upright tail and hair on end says, “Stay away from me or else,” Feddersen-Petersen said.

It can therefore be very useful for dog owners and people in general to understand some of the nuances of dog language, the researcher says.

However, barking isn’t for all canines; the wolf, a close relative of the dog, hardly ever barks, nor do older dog species like the Alaskan Malamute and Samoyed, according to Feddersen-Petersen.

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