Human and dog understanding of dog barks - talkAn acoustic signal may simultaneously provide information about the caller's species, sex, age, motivational state, dominance status, group membership, identity, and the social context. Several studies showed that nonhuman primate and other species were able to distinguish between individuals and contexts by only hearing vocalizations. We explored this phenomenon in family dogs. In the last decades only a few studies focused on the acoustic communication of dogs. Recently we showed that humans are able to categorize the barks into contexts and describe the emotional content. We found that humans with different levels of experience with dogs showed similar trends in experiments. On the other hand human listeners were not able to discriminate between individuals on the basis of their calls. In this present study we conducted play-back experiments to family dogs according to the habituation-discrimination paradigm. We investigated if dogs could discriminate between barks recorded from different individuals or in different contexts. Our results showed that dogs had this ability: subjects oriented more toward the speakers while a novel stimulus (bark recorded from another individual or in the other situation) was being played back to them. These and other findings suggest that bark may play a role in dog-dog and human-dog communication.
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