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August 17: The next time your pooch goes ‘woof’, listen closely. He could be saying “I’m hungry”, or “You’d better take me for a walk fast, or I’m going to do it right here on the carpet.”

Japan’s third-largest toymaker, Takara Co. Ltd, has just launched a hand-held electronic device that gauges a dog’s moods by listening to its bark.

Every dog has his bark
Every dog has his bark []

The ‘Bow-lingual’ has a mike attached to the collar which sends a voice print via infra-red beams to the owner’s canine emotion pager, which has a small liquid crystal display that shows how the dog feels.

‘Bow-lingual’ gauges six emotions, using 200 words to describe them and displays the dog’s feelings on the pager with pictures such as “happy” or “fun” with a smiling dog’s face. The product was developed in conjunction with the Japan Acoustic Lab and mobile phone contents provider Index Corp.

Available from February next year, the unit is priced at US$ 103 (about Rs. 4500).