Today in Stuff Dog Lovers Already Knew, a new study claims there’s a high likelihood that most people can understand dog language. The research conducted by Hungary’s Eötvös Loránd University focused on the human capacity to understand dogs by measuring the subjects’ ability to interpret specific growls and barks as they relate to canine emotions.
Researcher and study author Tamás Faragó used recordings of 18 dogs growling in different situations. One set of growls came from dogs that were guarding their food from other dogs; the second set was produced by dogs engaging in a round of tug-of-war with a group of humans; and the final growls occurred when the dogs felt threatened by an approaching stranger.
Forty adults listened to two sets of recordings and were asked to rate their impression of two separate growls, basing their first response on one of five emotions and the second on three options of guarding food; reacting to a threat; or play.
So, how well do we humans understand what dogs are trying to tell us?
The study findings published in the Royal Society Open Science journal revealed that volunteers chose the correct interpretation 63 percent of the time, with women making the right choice 65 percent of the time on average.
Overall, the participants accurately interpreted 81 percent of play growls, 60 percent of the food growls and 50 percent of the threatening growls. The findings also showed that the human volunteers frequently confused the food-related growls with those of a threatening nature.
Science has already informed us that dogs seriously understand our perspective, so this study pretty much confirms what’s been obvious all along: Dogs and humans are the ultimate BFFs.