Awesome Video

Can YOU interpret YOUR dog's various barks?

  • Yes, all the time

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Very rarely

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No, never.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


Honored Member
above is a link, which is no longer streaming, but SOooo worth a watch. If you ever see a Nova special going by, called "Dogs Decoded"
do stop and record THAT show! or link above has option to purchase the documentary.
Just an amazing video, that all dog lovers will so so enjoy so much.
Why have dogs learned to bark, but not wolves?
Can YOU understand the variations of a dog's bark? (know what the dog is "saying"?)
Why DO we love dogs so much?
How did this dog/human relationship ever get started?
The genetics of behavior, specifically, of aggression vs friendly.
Did dogs actually help human species survive?
Can dogs read human emotions?
What do dogs while interacting with humans but not with other dogs?
just lots of fascinating lil things to think about.
OH! OH!!!
Here is the video available for streaming:
you CAN watch it right now! yay!
DO WATCH! click on this video, you WON'T be able to stop watching it.:p
Make some popcorn,
get your sweetie,
click for "full screen"
and then,
you'll probably think about this video for a long long time afterwards...everytime your dog barks, ha ha!!


Honored Member
The "pointing thing",
done in the video,
where they discuss how no other creature understands the human pointing his hand, not wolves, not chimps, only dogs--------
Well, we did that test this weekend, was adorable.
Turns out, Buddy can understand ANY human pointing.
We imitated the exact set up they used in the video. Buddy much enjoyed the game.:)
However, we discovered, Buddy's success depended on whether he looked at the human's face PRIOR to being released to the cups.
Otherwise, Buddy did just obsess on the cups,:ROFLMAO:
and did miss some pointing signals from us.
if we asked Buddy to "Look At Me" first
he followed the pointing cue correctly,
100% of the time,
from anyone at all.:p
however, the longer we played the game,
Buddy learned to look to the human by the cups
for the cue,
prior to walking over the to the cups.
even without being asked to "look at me" first. Another pal, said her dogs do not need "look at me" first, they saw her point and went by that. Lol, but my dog needed the reminder to "look at me" to SEE the pointing going on, ha ha!!


Honored Member
re: the part with the dog who finds toys by name,
Buddy can find about 17 toys by name, even if in another room, or even if they are out in the yard.
It used to be way more toys, but, some of the toys are now destroyed/gone.
BUT, i've found,
if i take a toy Buddy ALREADY owns, and try to teach him a name for THAT toy, it is very hard for Buddy.
if i give a NEW toy a name, as i introduce the toy,
he learns that name easily, and immediately,
within minutes.O_o Almost no effort req'd.
but, my picking up a toy he HAS already played with and owned,
and trying to name THAT toy, is difficult.
the name of the toy (for *my* dog) has to be given when he 'meets' the new toy.


Honored Member
Wauw, How interesting to see how the dog evolved! That experiment with the fox is great, but it just kills me to see how they are kept in cages with wire floors... So sad!

I saw a vid on you-tube the other day about a dog being able to "read" The woman held up a piece of paper with a cue written on it, like paw, sit, down. And the dog did it. So cool!! So obviously they do not only respond to a picture of a toy, but also can make out what the letters mean. Not saying they can actually READ, but I guess they can form some sort of picture from the letters and know what it means.
Stupid of me not to put this vid in my favorite list, so now I can't find it anmore:(


Active Member
I'd like to know more about the other animals they use, for example, to determine that they can't understand pointing. I mean, often dogs are taught a lot of things pretty much from the moment they are born and if the wolves etc. are mostly kept in a cage it isn't the same at all, no matter how tame they may be.

When I got Rohan he had no understanding of the normal human-dog relationship, talking was just background noise and he didn't at all understand there could be benefits in co-operating. And he had lived he's whole life (at the ripe age of 6 mo.) with humans as an indoor dog but somehow he had never been taught even the most basic interactions ...humans aren't just dead weight at the end of the leash and food machines... I don't know how he's previous owners managed to raise him like that, especially when he is such a co-operative "people dog" by nature but it makes me wonder about the validity of comparing dogs to other animals. I'm pretty sure Rohan wouldn't have understood pointing back than and he still doesn't get me as well as my other dogs even though he has come a long way since than.


Honored Member
//"I'd like to know more about the other animals they use, for example, to determine that they can't understand pointing."//
did you watch the video?
well, they filmed it in the video, both wolves and chimps ignoring a human pointing. They suggest the canine being able to understand human's cues, is a result of 100s of 1,000s of years of co-existance with humans.
//"but it makes me wonder about the validity of comparing dogs to other animals."//
great point, this film only compares the one (1) behavior, of dogs being able to understand another species body language ( a human pointing). The use chimps as being closest to humans DNA wise,
and They do use wolves, as dogs share like, 99.2% (some super high number, but, i've forgotten)
of their DNA with wolves,
and are decended from only the gray wolf.
No foxes, no coyotes, no other breeds of wolves, just only the gray wolf.
I also thought it was interesting, how initially, prior to testing the dna, geneticists wondered, if several types of wolves contributed dna to the modern dog, as a way of explaining the many types of dogs,
but, nope.
*All* our modern dogs come down from the gray wolf, from the great danes and the chihuahua, all of 'em. Obviously, we humans did breed dogs to develop and enhance features we 'liked', too. Genes are powerful things!
//"I'm pretty sure Rohan wouldn't have understood pointing back than"//
Well, maybe you are right, but the film suggests, this is not a learned behavior, but, an inherited ability. I def noted, that my dog, who can get quite excited quickly, did better if he looked at our faces first, to focus a bit before being released to move to the cups. But, my pals' pitbulls, who are calmer in nature than Buddy is, understood her pointing immediately, having never ever been taught to do so.
For fun, you should imitate the pointing test as shown in the film, to see what you dogs will do. Who knows, your Rohan might just surprise you!!
My dog LOVED the game. I was somehow slightly surprised, that my Buddy could also understand other ppl than me, doing the pointing. (y) I don't know why that surprised me, but, it did. Maybe, like you, i must have felt the dog has to bond a bit to be able to understand and correctly interpret a human..
@Anneke, i thought the exact same thing, how sad about the foxes being caged like that. shiver. But interesting, how quickly, in how very few generations,
they were able to use genetics,
to create a human-loving version of the fox,
as well as a human-aggressive version.
Genes DO play a huge role in animal behavior. My dog's genes are probably why he is outside right now--- herding his laundry baskets, which he apparently never tires of doing....he inherited that behavior. We never taught him this behavior, and i don't think my dog has ever ever seen a dog herding in his life.
lol, but Buddy does seem to think or pretend his baskets ARE sheep though! I have to borrow a camera and film this "herding" behavior my border collie does. It really looks like a dog who is "pretending" the way kids pretend. I feel so bad Buddy has no real sheep to act out his inherited urge to herd....
Just the other day, a pal was watching Buddy head-butting his baskets into a grouping,
and remarked, "I've never seen any dog do that..." rofl.
but, my point is, that is yet another example, of a behavior that is "inherited" on the dog's dna.


Honored Member
lol, next i want to see if Buddy can follow the cue from me just LOOKING at the cups, ha ha!! it will be fun to check out.


Honored Member
not covered in this film, but other films i've seen, suggested that the few gray wolves who were NOT afraid of humans (maybe similar to finding that small % of foxes in the film)
started to hang around early man's caves, etc, lured by the food there perhaps,
and got fed bones and leftover bits, etc,
and in turn,
these 'tamer' gray wolves provided an early warning system for the humans....same as our dogs do today! ha ha!
adn so the humans either enjoyed the tamer wolves being around, or appreciated the security/alerts provided, and so it began....
and then, these 'friendlier' wolves, mated amongst themselves/separate from the 'other' wolves,
passing on their 'human-friendly' dna to their litters,
and created yet a strain of even friendlier
and friendlier
and friendlier wolves, each generation having an even more concentrated 'human friendliness" quality in there..........
...and so on.
It was interesting, in the film above, how the appearance of the "bred for friendliness" foxes began to change!! :eek:
so maybe that is another piece of the puzzle of how dogs evolved beside us humans.
It might have happened that way.


Active Member
I've seen the footage on TV not long ago :) I'll try to explain further... What I mean is that dogs know and have learned to watch us humans, they know we have important information to share and they are used to taking directions from us. Even dogs who haven't been super trained are still usually trained to do these things. Even tame wolves probably aren't and even if they know things like 'sit when you see a piece of food and you can get it' they still don't have the same bond. Maybe they could understand pointing if they cared enough about more subtle human behaviors. Dogs usually have a history of listening and watching humans, in some manner or another they do it everyday. I don't know if this still makes sense :confused:

Maybe I will indeed do some testing with my own dogs, using Hauru who can read my mind and Rohan who doesn't care to as the test subjects. Hauru knows that when I'm tense it means I'm worried, he knows laughing means good things and he knows if I start breathing nervously he should start scanning the environment for other dogs :oops: He knows if I don't like someone and doesn't let those people touch himself but is perfectly fine with people I do like, sometimes he even knows these things better than I do. And so many other examples, he is always reading me. I'm certain Rohan can do the same thing but he usually doesn't care to and takes no cues from me unless I expressedly ask him to do so. (Although I know we'll get there. I've only had him for roughly 6 months so it's not that long of a time to build a relationship from nothing.)

So maybe the wolves just view us humans the same way that Rohan does (or did), cool folk but in the larger picture utterly useless and uninteresting :D


Honored Member
or, maybe if you watch the film, you'd understand more what i am trying to describe.....
when you see
the difference
between what the wolves do,
vs. what the dogs do.
I think if you actually click on the link, that 2nd link with the video in it.
you might be able to see
how Rohan IS different than a wolf.
it's a good film, hope you DO decide to look at it. I found it so so so interesting! I am unable to explain the stuff in the videos, as well as the video explains. but, i love science, and i love dogs, so i was hooked easily!:ROFLMAO:
When we first got Buddy, he was pretty aloof, too, (to put it mildly),
but, i did find, handing him treats and having him lick peanut butter off of my hand, was very bonding to *my* dog, and massaging his back, and giving him deep sighs and slow blinks and yawns, etc etc.
I even taught him to snuggle, lol. Whole new concept to Buddy back then! rofl. He was like, "Are you kidding?" :confused:at first, but, now he likes it okay, ha ha! (buddy was 'damaged dog')


Honored Member
//"he knows if I start breathing nervously he should start scanning the environment for other dogs................He knows if I don't like someone and doesn't let those people touch himself but is perfectly fine with people I do like,................I'm certain Rohan can do the same thing but he usually doesn't care to and takes no cues from me unless I expressedly ask him to do so"//
maybe Rohan does not share your anxiety, about other dogs or ppl? it's possible. Maybe Rohan is more laid back, less fearful than you are, but, i'd bet Rohan still feels bonded to you. I have a relative who is high strung, i don't get anxious about the things that freak her out, but, i still care about her. I'm just not as fearful as she is, at all, at all. Maybe Rohan is same way??
Do you *want* your dog to associate your anxiety about dogs--- with seeing dogs,:sick:
or this is accidental,
and you can just not control or slow your own breathing down to help your dogs stay calm?
(not sure what you meant there, but you almost sound pleased, that you are able to get one of your dogs nervous alongside of you, but, i could be misinterpreting that, sorry.)
Some dogs are much more difficult to make 'nervous'
but, it doesn't mean Rohan doesn't care about you if he is not nervous about other dogs or ppl. :)


Active Member
Like I said, I've seen it and recorded it since it was interesting (and has mudis in it).

It's not all about the negative impacts. I cannot see positive influences either, the negative things were just easier for me to list since Hauru has plenty of those and he was my example dog. Right now I can't think of any examples of wordless communication like that with Rohan, negative, positive, anything. Still, I'm not saying he is like the wolves either, not at all. Just that he is different because he was brought up differently. Though you are right, I should have compared Rohan to Avallon or Max who are more stable (or is it staple? isn't stable where you put horses? oh well...) personalities, just like Rohan is.

And maybe it wouldn't change anything but I still wonder about the effect of up-bringing. In the document, wolves raised as "dogs" are explained as being very different from dogs even when effort has been made to get them to act like one but I'd like to see those wolves (or apes brought up like that) being compared to a dog in the pointing test. And I'd like to know more about how they were raised since on the document the woman doesn't seem to be do much when the wolf misbehaves. But I assume they did try to train them off camera, I just really wish they had elaborated bit more on that. Because the way the wolf behaves in the kitchen etc. is the same as how Rohan behaved in he's old home when I went to pick him up. And the way the woman reacts is exactly how he's owners reacted: by basically doing nothing.

Finally. No, I don't want to make Hauru reactive to other dogs and I really try not to. But Hauru is highly dog aggressive and I've had some very bad experiences with him and other dogs so I get nervous when I see them if I have Hauru with me. Something I'm trying to work on but it's very very hard. I'm too scared about what might happen so I end up helping to make it happen, I know it's a big part as to why I can't improve Hauru's behavior in these situations. I'm not nervous of dogs normally and I'm not nervous of them if I'm out with my other dogs without Hauru. Nor am I anxious of people in any normal situation, I just don't get the happy feeling like when I see people who are my friends so Hauru interprets it somewhat negatively because he is like that. Or probably it's more like Hauru doesn't care for people in general but the people that make me happy are okay in he's books too. Because he does rely on me a lot in situations that are hard for him. Which of course makes the dog issue even worse :(


Honored Member
//"And maybe it wouldn't change anything but I still wonder about the effect of up-bringing."//
lol, okayy, you say you DID watch the video, but, you don't sound like it, sorry, i remain doubtful you have actually watched this video. cuz they go over that very clearly in the video, at length, it's almost a major point of the video.
//"And I'd like to know more about how they were raised since on the document the woman doesn't seem to be do much when the wolf misbehaves."//
good point, and i thought same thing when the wolf jumps on table, lol,
however, they mention, these same researchers, were also given baby dogs to raise prior to being given baby wolves to raise, and the researchers (apparently) were able to get the dogs to 'behave',
and felt they had a harder time getting wolves to even pay att'n to them.
although, you are right, they do not specifically explain what behavioral modification efforts actually WERE done to either the baby dogs or the baby wolves.
But the ppl *seem* to be saying that when compared,
they found that getting the dogs they raised, to 'behave',
was easier
than getting wolves they raised to 'behave'.
They also report, the wolves were more independent,
paying less att'n overall to them, than the dogs they raised.
--->which did make me smile :love:as i became freshly aware all over again, how often i do catch Buddy studying me and what i'm doing, generally following me around all day. Apparently, wolves don't do that even when humans raise them.
Noteworthy, that even baby dogs could follow a pointing human, {well, sometimes, lol.}:ROFLMAO:
I suppose it is your right, to watch the video, and walk away, thinking there is NO genetic difference in the way wolves and dogs interact with humans,
that it is how the creature is raised,
not genetics,
and you may be right!!!:)
but, i had an entirely different, even opposite,
impression from the video.
I'd assume, the wolves in the documentary, are not wild wolves. But you are right, they should have said, "these wolves here, are the same wolves we are also raising in our homes."
I'd also assume the chimps, seen in a lab,
also have much interaction with humans,
but who knows,
those could have been chimps who were wild.
But i got impression from the film, that dogs have a natural ability or tendency
to both pay att'n to human gesturings,
as well as be able to correctly interpret human gesturings, while other creatures don't.
RE: Rohan-----Oh, i'm glad you are not holding it against Rohan cuz he does not get nervous with you, yay!:D i have misunderstood your earlier words. sorry!:( cuz i'd bet, Rohan IS very bonded to you, :D but maybe Rohan is just a laid back non-fearful type of dog??:cool:
PS--next time you feel your own self getting nervous, try a yawn, for real. :sleep: Try it, even a few times, try it. If it doesn't work, no harm done, right?
Fake it til you make it, into a bonafide, real yawn. It sends out relaxing chemicals into your bloodstream,
IF your aggressive dog actually SEES you yawn,
Hauru will think you told HIM to also "calm down" in his own language,
and that might help HIM calm down, too. It's a win-win!!
Good luck!:)


Active Member
I do think wolves and dogs are different from each other, I really do. And apes, shouldn't forget them, they are obviously different. But I still struggle to understand why they would be completely unable to at least learn these things. I mean, dogs aren't all alike either. If you've (and it's a general you, not you you) worked with border collies I bet you're in for a real surprise when you get your first dogo canario, basenji or some other completely different type of animal. I mean I sure as hell wasn't, after only having owned companion dogs specifically bred to be companions, fully prepared for Hauru who is bred to be somewhat independent, who is quite primitive and has strong basic instincts that he will follow without thinking about it at all, like hunting and defending himself and "he's pack". And there are many breeds who are far more primitive and less "domesticated". Even though I don't think even those are same as wolves. But maybe the wolf, while not exactly a dog, could still be trained somewhat better by someone who has experience with these highly primitive dogs.

Yes, they say in the video they think this is something dogs do naturally. But they don't explain how exactly they came to this conclusion, not in details that would satisfy me anyway. I mean, come on the puppies really weren't that adapt at following the pointing and even puppies, if they are from a reputable breeder, have already been "worked" with a lot. They are handled, they live indoors, are played with and there's lots of interaction going on right from the start. Did they try this with dogs living in a puppy mill (or something) who haven't had regular human contacts?

Anyway, today I got my mom to help me and we tested all of my dogs, except for Avallon, and all of her dogs. Results were mixed, I'm going to explain little about the dog and than how they fared. I even looked the video again to make sure we were copying the test as precisely as we could.

Hauru, 3 years old mudi male who has been prepped for competitive dog sports and working with humans from the moment he was born. He has many skills but hasn't been taught pointing although I probably have used it with him in our everyday life without even thinking about it. (The rest of them have no pointing taught to them either.)
- He got the pointing every time and had no issues, didn't need any instruction or anything. Piece of cake. We also tried the eye thing and while he's performance dropped he could do that too in a manner which suggested he was taking the hint from me even if he didn't get it every single time.

Rohan, 1 year old dalmatian male who's history I've already explained. Keep in mind though that during the time I've had him I've trained him a lot to get him to interact and pay attention to me.
- He came to me and started licking my hand. I kept pointing more and eventually he would look at what I was pointing at. Sometimes he saw something more interesting and ignored us but returned to licking my hand and eventually going for the cup I pointed. He clearly understood the gesture but it took some time to get him to react to it even though I tried asking for he's attention first. This is kinda the point I was wondering about originally but the last dog we tested was even more interesting, I'll get to that.

Max, 7 year old bouvier male who was raised in a garage with limited contact, than lived in a somewhat abusing family until I got him at almost 3 years old. After that I've worked with him a lot to get him to trust me, lessen he's anxiety and make him feel more confident that nothing bad is about to happen though he is still a bit nervous in new situations.
- At first he was bit unsure about the situation so we didn't get any usable data but after a while he relaxed and started following my pointing better and better. Seems he understands pointing but was unsure if he was allowed to approach the cups.

Susa, 10 year old basenji female. Came from a reputable breeder, lives as a companion to my mom. Spoiled little princess.
- Got it every time, without fail. No issues, she was just as adept at this as Hauru.

Lulu, 5 year old great dane female who was bred by a good breeder, lives in a partly separated kennel "space" and thus doesn't have the same kind of relationship with humans than a regular house dog does but she is still well cared for.
- She wanted nothing to do with the cups. She would look straight at the cup I pointed so she clearly got the cue but when she was released she left to stand further away from us for some reason. I guess she didn't care for the treats or something. Still, I'm certain she understood the pointing.

Safira, 3 year old great dane female who lives with Lulu in the same conditions but came from a breeder who kept them in a kennel house and most likely did not interact with them as much as I would expect a breeder to do. This was the interesting case because it's not at all what I would have expected.
- The first time she went to the cup I pointed but it may have been a coincidence since after that she ignored me completely and chose the cup she wanted regardless of how clearly I pointed. She was also the only one, along with Lulu of course who refused to participate properly, who did not show any improvement during the test.

I still think the up-bringing and how the dogs (and other species) live is a contributing factor, although it may not be big enough to discredit the research, especially since they don't even go to details about whether they have had dogs from drastically different background or not. Maybe they have. What it means that Safi totally failed? I don't know. I wasn't expecting it at all. Maybe she's a freak of nature. (<- joke)

Also, I will try to remember to yawn! Good idea, definitely, and the neighbors already think I'm insane so they won't mind if start yawning like crazy whenever I see a dog :p