Pet Translators are Being Developed So Dogs and Cats Can Speak Their Mind
Excerpt: The Guardian
Pet translators that can turn woofs into words and make sense of miaows, might really be on the horizon
Higham pointed to the work being done by Con Slobodchikoff, professor emeritus at the department of biological sciences at Northern Arizona University, who has spent 30 years studying the behaviour of prairie dogs, which are actually not dogs at all but north American rodents.
“They have words for different species of predator and can describe the colour of clothes of a human, or the coat of coyotes or dogs.,” Slobodchikoff says.
He is now so convinced that other animals use similarly decipherable language that he is attempting to raise money to develop a cat and dog translation device.
Slobodchikoff says: “So many people would dearly love to talk to their dog or cat or at least find out what they are trying to communicate. A lot of people talk to their dogs and share their innermost secrets. With cats I’m not sure what they’d have to say. A lot of times it might just be “you idiot, just feed me and leave me alone”.
[Juliane Kaminski, a psychologist from Portsmouth University, says dog's barks are] context specific. They give out different yaps and yowls during play, aggression, when they are missing their owner and so on, but even people who have never owned a dog are fairly good at decoding these utterances.
Kaminski says a translation device might make things easier for people who lack intuition or young children who misinterpret signals “sometimes quite significantly.”.
One study, for instance, found that when young children were shown a picture of a dog with menacingly bared teeth, they concluded that the dog was “happy” and “smiling” and that they would like to hug it. An interpretation device might be able to warn of danger.