January 16, 2008 / 1:45 PM / 12 years ago

Computer can help your dog communicate

Snoopy, adorned with a Greek flag, barks at participants in the Greek-American Independence Day Parade in New York April 22, 2007. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungarian scientists are working on computer software analyzing dog barks that could allow people to better recognize dogs’ basic emotions, Hungarian ethologist Csaba Molnar said.

Molnar and his colleagues at Budapest’s ELTE University have tested software which distinguishes the emotional reaction of 14 dogs of the Hungarian Mudi herding breed to six situations: When the dog is alone, when it sees a ball, it fights, it plays, it encounters a stranger or it goes for a walk.

“A possible commercial application could be a device for dog-human communication,” the scientist told Reuters.

The computer correctly recognized the emotional reaction of the dogs based on their barks and yelps in 43 percent of the cases. People had judged correctly in 40 percent of cases.

Scientists said the software could be improved.

Molnar said the Hungarian scientists’ research provided further proof that different types of dog barks convey messages humans can understand even if they had no experience with dogs. (Reporting by Sandor Peto)

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