The bark and its meanings in inter and intra-specific language


  • Aleida Paladini



dog, behavior, bark, communication of dog


In intra and interspecific communication, the bark is the most used and known sound and is the most studied. There are different types of bark, for excitement, alarm, fear, guard, defense, frustration, and others that can be identified according to the phonographic structure and the context.

The bark has different shades, low, medium, high, and also varies in intensity, duration, and frequency. The tone reveals the basic emotion, the duration has to do with communicative urgency and frequency with the level of excitement. Generalizing, the high tones call attention and the low tones convey threat.

It is possible to identify the various parameters using a vocal spectrograph. Research shows that regardless of their direct experience, most people correctly identify the vocalizations of aggression and alert.

Moreover, the acoustic parameters of the tonality, the intensity, and frequency influence people in correctly describing the emotions to the base of the vocalizations (aggression, fear, play ...). In intraspecific language, research shows that dogs recognize the barks emitted in different situations, react more to the barks of familiar dogs, are able to distinguish between barks issued in different contexts and to discriminate between different individuals who bark in the same context.






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