Thursday, September 10, 2009

Can dogs speak?

We all know that dogs are smart. They understand verbal commands and can make complex decisions in new situations. However, they can't speak. Well, there are some weird rare cases of dogs sort of snarling "mama", but it's not real speach.

Right now, though, I've had an epiphany: dogs WON'T SPEAK, because they simply are not equipped to. They are smart enough to try and learn from their failures. However, the dog that lives next to my office now howls to the same notes as the ambulances that pass by the building. Also there are numerous cases where dogs are howling in the tune of a song they hear.

Now this is my idea: what if dogs are able of speach, just not human one? What if a properly constructed highly vocal and high pitched language would work for dogs? WE could not speak dog then, but we are smart, we have devices and computers and stuff like that.

Update: Having thought a bit more about this I have come to a conclusion. It makes sense that dogs should be able to communicate by howling. Duh! They are descended from wolves. They are still, genetically speaking, wolves. What about the barking? Wolves bark when they are pups. Somehow, the domestication process makes canides retain some youthful characterstics. Therefore, it only makes sense that they should be able of communication at a higher level through howling rather than barking. Although, dogs being smart as they are, it is only one hypothesis that needs proof.

My friend, Meaflux, by his own description "an anthropology buff", reminded me of the other "smart animals", the Cetacea order, whales and dolphins and such. They sing, they use high pitched wails (whails? :D) to communicate. I agree, it makes sense underwater, but since they are descended from a wolf like ancestor and since fish don't use this communication system, I would say there is a strong connection.

So, in conclusion, it is possible that the pack communication method of wolf howling combined with the millenia old dog interaction with humans could result, with some training, in sone sort of meaningful conversation skills? If only people working with dogs and apes would read my blog...