Dating ten years older

It may sound barking mad, but dogs are able to make their owners understand what they're trying to say through their barks and growls.

A recent study has found that the majority of dog owners are able to identify their dog's emotions through their noises.

In a large herd the system could pick out sheep who are in distress.

It could pick up common diseases such as foot rot and mastitis, a painful udder infection.

Overall, around 63 per cent of the 40 participants who took part in the study were able to identify the dog's emotions in the growls.

In just ten years time your dog could talk to you instead of barking, according to leading experts.

Advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning mean the Dr Dolittle dream of communicating with animals could soon be a reality.

The technology for assessing facial expressions was first developed for use on humans, but researchers realised that it could be used to decipher emotions in animals.

It is hoped that scanners could be placed at water troughs – or wherever a flock gathers – to automatically detect when a sheep is suffering.

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