A dog's bark is only a ruff means of communication. Instead, we should be looking at its wiggles and squirms.
Jumping up. Rolling over. Lifting paws.
It's all doggie behaviour that makes them so endearing.
But they're actually trying to talk to us.
Researchers from the University of Salford have been attempting to figure out what humanity's greatest friends have been trying to tell us all these years. Their results have been published in the science journal Animal Cognition.
They've identified some 47 different potential gestures they use in an attempt to communicate.
They've managed to 'translate' 19 of them.
Surprisingly, most of them mean 'scratch me'. Not 'feed me' - though that's right up there.
But others communicate your canine's desire to go outside, and play.
Here's a quick dog-to-human dictionary to help you translate your pup's desires:
— Using its snout and head to move your hand on to its body
— Holding one paw in the air while sitting
— Turning its head from side-to-side, looking between a human and another object
— Standing on its hind legs
— Using its mouth to throw a toy forwards
— Rolling over in front of you
— Pressing its nose against you or another object
— Licking you or an object
— Lifting a paw and placing it on you
— Gently biting your arm
— Short shuffles along the ground while rolling over
— Lifting a back leg while laying on its side
— Rubbing its head against you while leaning against you
PLAY WITH ME:
— Briefly touching a person with a single paw
— Diving headfirst under a person or object
— Reaching a paw towards an object of interest
— Wiggling its body underneath a person or object
OPEN THE DOOR FOR ME:
— Lifting both paws off the ground and placing them on its owner or a nearby object
— Jumping up and down, either on to an object or not, while in the same location.
The study comes as new evidence emerges to invigorate the 'cat versus dog' debate. Specifically, which one is smarter.
DOGS VERSUS CATS
Dog owners say their pets are smartest because their pet is loyal, joyous and can be trained.
Cat owners say it's their pet — for exactly the opposite reasons.
But it now appears, that when it comes to raw brain power, dogs are clearly ahead.
Their cerebral cortex is particularly dense.
What's the surprise about dogs being dense, cat lovers may ask?
It's all about efficiency when it comes to hunting.
It seems dogs have about 530 million neurons calculating their behaviour, as opposed to 250 million in cats.
"I believe the absolute number of neurons an animal has, especially in the cerebral cortex, determines the richness of their internal mental state and their ability to predict what is about to happen in their environment based on past experience," neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel from Vanderbilt University says.
Dogs had the most neurons of any carnivore — even though they didn't have the biggest brains. Brown bears had roughly the same number as cats.
And previous studies indicating carnivores needed greater brain capacity than prey appears to be unfounded. There doesn't appear to be much difference at all.
"I'm 100 per cent a dog person," Herculano-Houzel confessed, "but, with that disclaimer, our findings mean to me that dogs have the biological capability of doing much more complex and flexible things with their lives than cats can."