What does "bau!" Mean? And "wuuf"? Who has a dog soon learns to understand that when his puppy does a certain way means that he is hungry, and when he does another needs to cuddle. But do dogs have "words" to communicate even with each other? Well, vocabulary and grammar don't have it, though … (Andrea Porta, 13 May 2008)

Who has a dog learns to understand his language. In time he manages to distinguish the meaning of the various types of barks, yarks and moans. But between them, dogs understand each other? No one had ever studied the "internal use" language of our best friends until the ethologists of the Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest, Hungary) subjected a group of dogs of various breeds to listening to four sounds: the verse of a dog kept on a leash alone, that of a dog watching a stranger enter his garden and two control sounds (the sound of a drill and that of a refrigerator). By monitoring the heart rate of the animals, the researchers noted that these showed signs of sudden excitement both when the "neutral" noise was replaced with a bark and when the first type of bark gave way to the second.

Basic vocabulary. According to Péter Pongrácz, author of the study (published in Applied Animal Behavior Science), the variation in the levels of attention expressed by cardiac excitation means that dogs know how to distinguish the differences in the verses of their peers and, probably, they are able to go back to the context in which they are produced. "We can define this communication as" functional-referential "", explains the scholar, "while we have not found clues that suggest more complex meanings, such as" this is the postman "or" this is the neighbor "." that is, dogs seem to express and decode only basic emotions.
Woof! (yes, I'm barking at you …) In reality, however, dogs have not learned to bark to communicate with each other. "Even the ancestors of today's dogs barked, but the abundance of verses we hear today is certainly the product of domestication, " explains Pongrácz. Previous studies had already shown that domestic dogs bark for us, and that they have learned to do so even with their peers only later, as a form of communication complementary to visual and olfactory communication.