I was reading today about on The Bark.com; What Dogs Are Saying With Their Barks about dog vocalizations. The article is very long and goes into detail about chicken studies but its very interesting to learn 1) how few studied have been done on dog vocalization and 2) how context is everything with them. The last page of the article hinted that, like humans, even the intonation of dog barks can depend on their mood.
We may even unintentionally condition our dogs to bark louder! When we are on the couch and they continually bark at you to play with their favorite toy and your response is slow, the suggests that they will bring their toy and bark louder when you are occupied (for example, on the phone). During these times you are more likely to respond faster (throw their toy) just to get them away and quiet. That’s the totally opposite effect that we desire! We are encouraging loud behavior during times we want silence.
I seriously can’t wait for more research in this area!
Check out this product featured on Engadget! Its the No More Woof which uses the Android Raspberry Pi processor to translate a dogs brain activity to human words. Its more of a concept than reality, but we’re on the way to communicating with our canine friends better.