Auditory communication in domestic dogs: vocal signalling in the extended social environment of a companion animal

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Taylor, Anna Magdalena ; Ratcliffe, Victoria Frances ; McComb, Karen ; Reby, David (2014)

Domestic dogs produce a range of vocalisations, including barks, growls, and whimpers, which are shared with other canid species. The source–filter model of vocal production can be used as a theoretical and applied framework to explain how and why the acoustic properties of some vocalisations are constrained by physical characteristics of the caller, whereas others are more dynamic, influenced by transient states such as arousal or motivation. This chapter thus reviews how and why particular call types are produced to transmit specific types of information, and how such information may be perceived by receivers. As domestication is thought to have caused a divergence in the vocal behaviour of dogs as compared to the ancestral wolf, evidence of both dog–human and human–dog communication is considered. Overall, it is clear that domestic dogs have the potential to acoustically broadcast a range of information, which is available to conspecific and human receivers. Moreover, dogs are highly attentive to human speech and are able to extract speaker identity, emotional state, and even some types of semantic information.
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