Dogs can make humans understand what their barks and growls mean, according to a new study that also found that women are better than men at recognising what their canine friends are trying to convey, PTI reports.
For the study, 40 volunteers listened to different growls recorded from 18 dogs that were guarding their food, facing a threatening stranger, or playing a tug-of-war.
Overall, participants correctly classified 63% of the growl samples – significantly more than would be expected by guesswork alone, they said. The human listeners identified 81% of the “play” growls but were less good at recognising food guarding and threatening growls.
According to the research by Tamas Farago and his team from Eotvos Lorand University in Hungary, during play, dogs produced a larger number of shorter, less separated, growls than when they were aggressive or fearful.
Women were better than men at recognising when a dog was being playful or threatening, or feeling fear, researchers said.
Play growls and food guarding growls also had distinctively different pitch characteristics, The Telegraph reported.
“According to our results, adult humans seem to understand and respond accordingly to this acoustic information during cross-species interactions with dogs,” the researchers concluded.