Dogs, they say, have a vocabulary of some 165 human words. Wow!

You’ve surely seen this in action yourself? You’re sat there having a conversation with someone and you happen to mention a certain and all of a sudden a pair of canine ears prick up?

Sure, you’ve might have said; “That seems dangerous, I wouldn’t want to risk it”, but Fido heard; “This seems great, let’s all have a biscuit”.

It’s quite possible they are so smart they deliberately mishear us when it suits them. For example, ‘please come back now’ sometimes translates as ‘yes, I’d like you to do a few more laps of the park before we all go home’.

You see, when a word is said – and heard – it has to be acted on. If the word ‘walkies’ or anything sounding like it is said, we’ll get a full performance from our dog that means a contract had been drawn up, agreed and must be adhered to.

So if they’ve got our language pretty much covered, the question is – how much of theirs do YOU understand?

1. Continuous rapid barking, midrange pitch: “Call the pack! There is a potential problem! Someone is coming into our territory!” Continuous barking but a bit slower and pitched lower: “The intruder [or danger] is very close. Get ready to defend yourself!”

2. Barking in rapid strings of three or four with pauses in between, midrange pitch: “I suspect that there may be a problem or an intruder near our territory. I think that the leader of the pack should look into it.”

3. Prolonged or incessant barking, with moderate to long intervals between each utterance: “Is there anybody there? I’m lonely and need companionship.” This is most often the response to confinement or being left alone for long periods of time.

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