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Women Understand ‘Dog Talk’ Better Than Men

When it comes to understanding our dog’s behavior, women seem to have the upper hand with dog talk.

A new report found that humans are also able to decipher between dog’s various grumble noises, being able to distinguish between playful and aggressive noises.

Researchers at Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary used recording from 18 dogs in three different scenarios: guarding food from other dogs, playing tug-of-war with a person and being threatened by an approaching stranger.

Related: Your ‘Baby Voice’ Only Works on Some Dogs, According to Research

Forty people, both owners and non-owners, listened to two different recordings, with the first focused on the tone of the growl. Participates rated it on a scale for five emotions: fear, aggression, despair, happiness and playfulness.

For the second recording, each person had to determine the setting: food guarding, playing or being intimidated by a stranger.

Related: Study Unveils What Music Dogs Prefer

The team found that overall participants were able to correctly identify the correct growl 63 percent of the time. Play growls were identified correctly 81 percent of the time, food growls 60 percent of the time and threatening growls 50 percent of the time.

They also found women, along with dog owners (regardless of gender) were better at deterring the different growls

“It is known that women have a higher emotional sensitivity, and probably this higher sensitivity can help to differentiate better the context of the growls,” the authors write.

The findings could help humans better understand dogs’ demeanors, improve their bond, while decreasing the chance of an attack due to aggressive behavior.

The research was first published in Royal Society Open Science. 

Related: What That Guilty Expression on Your Dog’s Face Really Means

By Angela Helfrich

Angela Helfrich is the former chief business officer at This Dog's Life. Her past roles include executive director at Dooli, executive director of higher education at Fullbridge and higher account executive at Xerox.

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