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What’s in a bark?

A NEW study aims to shed more light on how dogs communicate.

Psychology student, Anna Taylor, a 23-year-old University of Sussex Phd, want to record the barks and growls of the dogs in an attempt teach us how and why dogs use sound to communicate. She hopes isolate and analyse growls emitted in each recording, supervised by mammal communication specialists Dr David Reby and Dr Karen McComb.

Miss Taylor said: "For my undergraduate study I completed a final year project in cat purring. After that I went off to study applied animal behaviour which gave me a good understanding of dogs. We use all type of techniques to get the dogs to bark and growl including banging on doors and windows, playing with them and isolating them in a room. It's an unusual study but it has been met with quite a lot of interest."

She hopes her project, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, will ultimately lead to a better understanding of vocal communication in dogs.

She said: "Owners like to think they know what their dog is saying when it barks. Hopefully, this research will help to reveal scientifically what man's best friend is really communicating.