If your dog is barking at you, you probably know what it wants.
You should have an understanding, especially if you're sitting down to eat, that it may be hungry. Or, if it's pawing at the door, that it wants to go outside.
There's a symbiotic relationship of communication you both will have built up over the years.
But a study, published in 2017, suggests that women are more likely to understand what man's best friend wants.
The study, published in the journal Royal Society of Open Science, found that people can pick up on what dogs are attempting to communicate when they growl, and that women are more fluent in "dog" than men.
The researchers recorded 18 dogs growling in response to different situations - guarding food from other dogs, playing tug of war, or feeling threatened by the approach of a stranger for example.
Forty study participants, a small sample size, were then asked to identify the tone using a sliding scale the dog's growl for fear, playfulness, aggression, despair and happiness.
They then tried to determine the context of the growl.
Humans had a 63 per cent success rate of identifying the context of the growl (compared to a 33 per cent chance rate).
Tamás Faragó, the lead author of the study, told Broadly:
Our recent fMRI studies suggest that dogs and humans use similar brain areas and probably similar processes to assess others' emotions from vocalizations. It seems that there are biologically rooted rules to how mammalian vocalizations encode emotions and these shared processes help humans to assess the emotional load of not just dogs but other mammal species' vocal emotion expressions.
This is a common pattern in emotion recognition studies.
Women are likely more empathic and sensitive to others' emotions and this helps them to better associate the contexts with the emotional content of the growls.