Certain music, singing or howling by a group of us would really get her howling. This process usually began with Megan’s bottom lip quivering as she got worked up, followed a mournful “roowoowooow” as she couldn’t help but join in.
When I visit a friend’s house with a dog, I can’t help trying a dog whine or quick “yip” when the animal is looking the other way. Occasionally I’ll do what must be a particularly convincing whine, or bark, and the animal’s ears will really perk up. They’ll look me in the eyes, incredulously, for seconds. I am always curious, what do they hear?
I’m not a dog communications expert, and I don’t think that anyone is exactly sure how dogs communicate with each other. Obviously there’s the scent thing as well, which I haven’t ventured into imitating yet – and it’s probably a bit presumptuous to think that different bark sounds are actually different “words” to dogs. But I can’t help wondering what the dog is hearing? Is it “Danger” or “Hey!” or “Purple swing set apple”. At the same time, if a dog heard a group of people laughing, how great would it be if it wandered up and joined in the laughing?
Of course, this also applies to cats. Though, clearly, being the smarter, more superior, and overall, better, of the two animals, once they are onto the trick they are quick to shun you for fooling them. And they will give you a “you’re better than that” look if they witness you trying to “mreoowww” in their native tongue.
The parrot is the only creature that I can think of that plays the same trick on humans. Though people have tried to teach parrots how to truly communicate with humans, from what I’ve read, the jury is still out on if they really understand what they are saying, and why they imitate us.
So what do you think? (Dog, Cat, Parrot communications experts and imitators please weigh in)