When it comes to dogs, preteens know best

By Susan Aiello • Published: May 1st, 2012
Category: Animal Airwaves

Parents and teachers can attest that teenagers think they know everything. But new research suggests that when it comes to understanding dogs, preteens do in fact know as much as their parents.

Adults and children between 6 and 10 years old listened to dog barks recorded during play, aggression or isolation. They were then asked to match the barks to the appropriate situations. Young children didn’t do too well, but the 10-year-olds scored as well as adults.

This indicates that basic understanding of canine speech develops at an early age, suggesting that people may have evolved this ability over our eons bonding with man’s best friend. Blind people are also adept at “speaking dog,” supporting the idea that this ability does not require visual cues.

So the next time your chatty chow chow voices her opinion, listen closely.