The Guardian

If dogs could talk, they’d tell us some home truths | John Bradshaw

Technology means we could soon be able to ‘translate’ barks. We really need better ways to understand their needs• John Bradshaw is an honorary research fellow at the University of Bristol’s vet school and author
‘Learning to understand a new dog takes time.’ Photograph: Juniors Bildarchiv/Alamy

On 1 April 2010, Google announced a breakthrough for the animal kingdom: an Android App that would allow an impressive range of species, from guinea pig to tortoise, to speak in English. The date was, naturally, significant. Presumably the advertised “animal linguistic database”, against which the “neurobiological acoustics” of the animal’s utterances would be compared, never existed. The “tortoise” file would have been pretty limited, in any case.

Now, the idea of talking animals has resurfaced as part of concept, but this time . It’s mainly focused on dogs, though in

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