How Dogs Would Communicate If They Could Talk

Have you ever wondered how dogs communicate with each other?

Dogs are amazing creatures, and science is just now beginning to appreciate how intelligent these animals are.  A recent episode of PBS’s Nova pointed this out: Dogs can naturally do things that many humans take for granted–things that not even a chimpanzee can do, such as understanding a human’s hand gestures and facial expressions.

Dogs are limited in speech, this much is evident.  A close listen to dogs who can supposedly “talk,” reveals that while the vowel sounds sound very close to sounds a human might make, the consonants are severely lacking (the famous video of a dog supposedly saying “I love you” sounds more like “Rye Ruh Rue.”)

Part of the problem is that a dog’s lips are simply not made for the kind of speech we use every day, nor is their tongue.  This eliminates many consonants that they can speak.

Besides, naming things based on how something looks does not make sense for a dog, since their sight is hundreds (if not thousands) of times less detailed than their sense of smell.  Additionally, they don’t see color the same way we do; for example, a dog can only see blue, yellow and gray (source), so a dog calling something “red” just doesn’t make much sense.

Also, dogs have no concept of a deity, so all names ending in “-el” are out: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and so on.

But a dog “calling” something based on its scent makes perfect sense to me.  Humans would call her “Ms. Fluffy,” but dogs call her “Lilacs In Spring.”  Humans call him “Rex,” but dogs call him “Hint Of Garbage.”  (I just made myself laugh)

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