Research in to the nature of dog barks has revealed that thee may be more to these sounds than we think.
Unlike their wild counterparts, domestic dogs tend to bark quite a lot - often at strangers or at anyone who walks by. The exact purpose and significance of dog barking is not entirely understood and it seems that not every individual bark from a dog is the same. Some believe that dogs are able to subtly alter the sounds they make in a way that may have meaning to other dogs but that humans are unable to pick up on.
In one experiment researchers recorded the sounds made as a dog growled at some food, then of a dog growling at strangers. A different dog was then brought in and offered a bone while each of the two growl recordings was played back. The results indicated that the dog was more hesitant to approach the bone when the 'food growl' was played as oppose to when the 'strange growl' was played. The dog seemed to be able to tell the difference despite the two growls being indistinguishable to the casual human ear.
"Dog vocalizations may not sound very sophisticated."
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Source: Scientific American
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