How Tom became a Rockstar!

Lesson from Tom: Tom likes to vocalize (he’s a schnauzer mix), so why not put his talents to good use! Since I’ve been collaborating with him on my art projects, recording his vocalizations, he has become very articulate and polite.

Tom says, “I love you!!”

Here’s some basic communication Tom uses while vocalizing:

  • “hello” is a soft repeated high-pitched bark while approaching people
  • “attention!” is a loud single full deep bark repeated until I thank him (used for the doorbell etc.)
  • “I’m happy” quite high-pitch growling while he’s rolling on his back and/or digging on the carpet
  • “I’m upset!”  is a high pitched single bark when Sugi’s get special attention
  • “I’m having fun!” most dogs laugh like this.  A series of short loud exhales like panting (when being played with or greeting the human when they come home)
  • “I’ll do anything for that treat!” a ‘phrase’ made up of growling, whining and low barking
  • “look at me” or “I want…” is a low rumbling but friendly growl with a tail wag.

I made use of these vocalizations in a recording session where I asked Tom to vocalize for a treat. We set up in a recording studio and made an hour’s worth of recordings of his voice. I then used these sound clips to create the soundtrack for my rock video of Tom called “Rockstar”.

The video can be seen on Vimeo:

The project is described on my website:

3 thoughts on “How Tom became a Rockstar!

  1. wow, “Some canine experts speculate that the pleasure the dog experiences from traveling in a car with his head out the window is like a psychedelic experience – fantastic rush of the senses.” -> I never knew this. It is amazing that you have such an intimate relationship with your dogs that you even know what they are saying!

    Why did you choose the types of backgrounds (patters and different colours)? The pattern of the background is certainly meditative for me.

    Tom seems superior because of the way camera angle positions him from the below.

  2. I really like how your dog Sugi looks wise in this picture. Not many pets especially don’t seem to have any human characteristics at all, but Sugi seems to have this aura where he is knowledgeable in life and that he is not very afraid of anything. And the fact that he makes a longer period of eye contact with someone is very strange yet cool. Your picture of Sugi reminded me of the kind of fox in Tibet. It looks as if it is serious and wise as well, as if a human being is born as a fox in his/her after life.

    Here’s a link to the fox:

    • thank you for the link to the tibetan fox information! Yes, the eye contact I think is what gives us the impression of wisdom and attention from the animal. In dogs, eye contact is actually unusual because it is considered, in canine culture, to be disrespectful to hold eye contact. So dogs will often look away or avoid looking in the eye of the human. In addition, for canines, the sense of smell is the primary sense they use to know about the world; they do not use their eyes as a primary sense like humans do. So even though a dog may be not making contact it does not mean that they are not attentive or wise ; )

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