Speak, Spot, Speak

A Japanese toy maker has the answer for pet owners curious about their dog's state of mind - the Bowlingual.

Takara Co.'s hand-held device, which is smaller than a credit card, deciphers growls and yelps into six feelings - frustration, alarm, self-expression, happiness, sadness and desire. Depending on the type of bark, words pop up on the device display, such as "I can't stand it," or "How boring."

Similar to computerized voice recognition for human speech, the Bowlingual matches barks with digital patterns of various barks preprogrammed into the device. It translates pooch sounds into more than 200 pronouncements like: "I'm arf-ully lonely. Please play with me more."

The device also produces a diary summing up a dog's day: "So many fun things today. What an ultra-happy day."

Bowlingual comes with a finger-size microphone that attaches to the dog's collar. The device, which costs 12,800 yen - about $104 - will go on sale in Japan in February and may be exported later on, the company said.

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