Perception of human acoustic communication in the domestic dog (Canis familiaris)

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från SLU/Dept. of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health

Sammanfattning: For most dog owners today it is natural to use acoustic stimuli such as talking to communicate with their pets. Words are used both to ask the dogs to perform tricks, as well as to hold “conversations” with the dog. This literature review looks at how dogs perceive human acoustical communication and how this can influence the behaviour of the dog. This information could be used e.g. during dog training. Acoustic signals are said to be a reflection of the inner state of the signaller, but they can also be used to assess the behaviour of other individuals by looking at their communicative signals. This can be done both through direct interactions with another individual, but also by assessing signals that are used in communication between two other individuals. Acoustical signals have also been showed to be especially important for understanding the social context in which these types of communication are used. Acoustic signals can also be used to influence the behaviour of the receiver. It has been shown that different kinds of sounds diverge in their ability to generate different responses from the receiver. Studies has shown that multiple short tones are significantly better at inducing increased motor activity, while long sounds have a tendency to give rise to decreased movement. Acoustic signals are often central in dog training. Dogs have showed a great capacity for using acoustic signals to learn the name of novel objects and some individuals are reported to be able to retrieve up to 200 different upon hearing an acoustic cue. Dogs also have the ability to quickly associate new objects with words. This kind of learning is usually accomplished by using “shaping”, a training method in which the dog is rewarded for approaching and interacting with the novel object, but with increasing demands for attaining the reward. Studies has showed that by handling, looking at and talking about an object in front of the dog, you can achieve results that are comparable in quality and with the same learning time as in training using shaping. But there are also studies whose results suggest that acoustic signals such as talk and sounds might interfere with the dogs learning, by demonstrating decreased learning times when dogs were trained entirely without using acoustic signals. While being important for dogs to assess social situations, the importance of acoustic signals for learning in dogs is unclear. To better understand how to use acoustic signals when communicating with dogs further studies are needed about how these signals affect the behaviour and learning of dogs.

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