Home ยป The Scoop

Do You Speak Dog?

I think it's safe to say we all wish we could understand exactly what our dogs are saying, don't we? Sure reading body language works...

Horst Hoefinger  |  Sep 16th 2008


I think it’s safe to say we all wish we could understand exactly what our dogs are saying, don’t we? Sure reading body language works wonders, and sometimes a well timed whimper or bark will get a point across, but I still prefer the spoken word.

I remember one year for Christmas Lisa gave me the Bow-Lingual dog bark translator. I’m sure many of you have heard of the device, but if you haven’t here’s a little snippet of marketing material for you.

The device is billed as a “translator” but it might more precisely be called an emotion analyzer. It is said to use technology to categorize dog barks into one of six standardized emotional categories.

Then, for fun, Bowlingual also provides an often humorous phrase representative of that emotion. But the product package clearly notes that the phrases “are for entertainment purposes only” and it seems that they are not meant to be true translations of each bark.

I’m sure you’re wondering, how well does it work? Well, while it may be an amusing toy for a child, for adults it’s one of those gifts, after a few hours use, that you want to re-gift. In fact, ours ended up on eBay. If I remember correctly, most of Bo’s barks translated into “I want treats”, something we already knew.

The Bow-Lingual does lead to a few interesting questions. Just what words are in a dogs vocabulary and which command words do they respond to best?

So, in the name of scientific research, Dogster decided to create a poll on its homepage to determine what command dogs respond to the most. The final statistics, results based on 3101 pollsters, are: Come! (31.57%), Stay! (26.67%), Shake (23.12%), None of the above (14.80%), and Heel! (3.84%).

Oddly, my suggestion of “Gotta Go Pee Pee?” didn’t make the list. In retrospect, it is more of a question than command so I’ll let it slide.

Regardless, you can still vote if you want, or head on over to check out the new poll. As a dog owner which presidential candidate are you most likely to vote for?