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Pet Subjects - Dog bark -

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Pet Subjects - Dog bark

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Do you think you can understand what your dog is saying? Jonica Newby puts dog owners to the test
to see how well they understand their mutts. So grab a pen and paper - you may be surprised to
learn how well you comprehend canine.

Dr Jonica Newby

So you think you can speak dog? Let's find out, shall we? This is an audience participation
section, so one of you in the room, quickly grab a pen and paper. Now I have here a series of dog
barks, each recorded in a different situation. And you lot are going to tell me what the dog meant
by each bark. Isn't that right?

NARRATION

Here are the situations. A, left alone. B, stranger at gate. C, about to go for a walk. D, asking
for ball. E, vigorous play, like tug of war or chasey.

Dr Jonica Newby

Right, I have a group of dog owners over there, let's go test them, and you at the same time.

Dr Jonica Newby

Hi there. Ready? Alright. So are you ready for the first one?

Dog owner

Yeah.

Dr Jonica Newby

Here goes.

NARRATION

So which scenario do you think this is? A, B, C, D or E? Write it down.

Dr Jonica Newby

Okay, bark number two. Bark number three.

NARRATION

These are all dog owners. But for good measure, let's also test some people who have never even
owned a dog.

Dr Jonica Newby

Okay ladies, ready?

Women

Ready.

Dr Jonica Newby

And you've never owned a dog, is that right?

Woman

No I haven't, that's correct.

Dr Jonica Newby

Okay, Faye. Ready, take this.

Faye

Okay, thanks Jonica.

Dr Jonica Newby

Bark number four. And we're up to bark number five.

NARRATION

And what do you at home think?

Dr Jonica Newby

Okay, you ready for the results? Number one was B. Two - D. Three - A. Four - E. And five - C. You
got five out of five.

Woman

Five out of five! Excellent.

Dr Jonica Newby

Four out of five.

Man

Eighty per cent, oh very good.

Dr Jonica Newby

Congratulations, looks like you can speak dog. Three out of five. Well done.

NARRATION

Each of the subjects did better than random guessing.

Dr Jonica Newby

Well above chance. Well done.

Woman

Sixty per cent!

Dr Jonica Newby

Three out of five.

NARRATION

But what was really interesting is that even the people who'd never had a dog did pretty well.

Dr Jonica Newby

Are you surprised by the results?

Faye

Yeah, I am actually. I didn't expect to get that many right.

NARRATION

What you've all just done is a simplified version of a groundbreaking experiment from Hungary.

Dr Jonica Newby

Now here's the really, really, really interesting thing about this research. Until recently, dog
barking wasn't taken all that seriously by scientists. Adult wolves and dingoes rarely bark, and
dog barking was thought to be a sort of messy, meaningless, all-purpose shout.

NARRATION

But the Hungarian research has proved that even humans who've never owned a dog were really good at
working out what the bark meant. Far from being boring, they suggest dog barking may have
co-evolved with humans to facilitate communication between our two species.

Dr Jonica Newby

Really, it is amazing how easy most of us find it to understand this funny little animal. My
thoughts exactly.