Scientists discover dogs have a language based on gestures

  • 17/06/2018
Scientists discover dog language based on gestures.
Scientists discover dog language based on gestures. Photo credit: Getty

Scientists have uncovered strong evidence that dogs communicate using gestures, like babies.

Researchers at the University of Salford in Manchester recorded 37 dogs and their owners, documenting everyday movements to figure out just what they were communicating.

No surprises - they found rolling over, jumping and lifting paws were among the 19 different gestures.

The study calls the communication "referential gestures", much like what human infants use before they learn to speak.

Looking from the human to the object was how dogs who they are interested in something, and flicking a toy around was a way to show they were hungry.

The biggest object of interest was consistently the food bowl.

In the study it also states that dogs perform "showing" behaviour, which is said to be both directional communication and attention-getting.

"Domestic dogs can also perform 'showing' behaviours in referential communicative bouts. 'Showing' behaviours are defined as communication which contains both a directional element related to an external object and an attention-getting element that directs the attention of the recipient to the signaller," the study says.

The researcher says it is the first systematic attempt to decode dogs' language.