Over the years, I have noticed with all of my dogs that after I have given some sweet talk and ear scratches, they will give out a long sigh.
I am hoping this is out of contentment. Is there any basis in fact to support that?
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There’s research on dogs vocalizing and humans understanding. Many studies focus on barking; but it seems reasonable that interspecies communication would also be possible with other vocalizations (e.g. sighs).
Dogs use a wide range of different context-specific subunits of barks and mixed sounds as a means for communication of emotional arousal and both positive and negative emotional states.
In addition, humans seem to be able to correctly identify the emotional state of the dog based on context-specific barks.
Citation: Csoltova E and Mehinagic E (2020) Where Do We Stand in the Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris) Positive-Emotion Assessment: A State-of-the-Art Review and Future Directions. Front. Psychol. 11:2131. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.02131