Bark 2: Study says barks have little meaning
What’s your barking dog trying to say?
Nothing in particular, according to a University of Massachusetts study. It concludes dogs do not bark differently in different circumstances; rather, they have one all purpose bark to ward off predators and deal with conflict.
“What we’re saying is that the domestic dog does not have an intentional message in mind, such as, ‘I want to play’ or ‘the house is on fire,’” said Kathryn Lord, a University of Massachusetts, Amherst doctoral candidate, who worked to define the bark.
She believes the dog bark evolved about 10,000 years ago, when dogs needed to stand their ground to eat at human dumpsites. Instead of running away every time a human came near, they participated in mobbing behavior, bravely barking to intimidate intruders instead of running away and wasting food energy.
Lord pointed out that not all dog noises are barks, and that the other noises might have other motivations behind them, according to a WCVB TV report.
But as for barks, she insists, dog’s aren’t trying to tell us anything, just voice their “internal conflict.”
“There’s no deep cognitive understanding, and I think that upsets a lot of people,” she said.
Dogs had no comment on the study.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 23rd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amherst, bark, barking, barks, cognition, communication, dogs, interpretation, meaning, news, noises, ohmidog!, research, sounds, study, understanding, university of massachusetts