There is really no specific way of talking to dogs. We just assume things based on how the dogs are acting. One dog owner wanted to go above and beyond that so she came up with a great idea.
Christina Hunger works as a speech-language pathologist, and she lives in San Diego. She is also the owner of Stella, a dog who can talk to her using our own language. Thanks to a soundboard that Christina built, Stella can talk to her.
Christina taught Stella how to communicate what she’s thinking or feeling. She started to train her when the dog was only 8 weeks old.
The soundboard that Christina made allowed Stella to share her thoughts and feelings. She just needs to press on buttons on the board that correspond to a word in our language.
When the Catahoula-Blue heeler mix was 18 months old, she knows how to use 29 words. She is able to tell Christina if she’s hungry or if she wants to go out for a walk, or if she wants to get belly rubs.
One day, Christina saw that Stella was walking back and forth by the front door. She was also whining. Then, Christina saw Stella go to the soundboard and then pressed the buttons that corresponded to the words “want,” “Jake,” and “come.” Then Stella went to the front door and stood there. Jake is Christina’s fiancé.
That same day, Jake visited Christina. Stella went back to her soundboard and pressed on the button for “happy.”
Christina said that if she didn’t train Stella to use the soundboard, Stella’s actions would make her think that Stella just wants to go outside.
But from what she pressed on the soundboard, Stella told her that she wants Jake to come because she misses him.
View this post on Instagram
Stella uses language differently when she’s in a heightened state versus when she’s calm! • Today when she heard some noises outside and wanted to go investigate, I told her we were staying inside. • Stella responded by saying, “Look” 9 TIMES IN A ROW, then “Come outside.” She was clearly in a more frantic state, and her language use matched that. We all sound differently than normal when we’re in distress, Stella included! • I’m impressed that Stella is communicating with language during her more heightened states, not just when she’s calm and in a quiet space. This shows me that words are becoming more automatic for her to use. It’s similar to when a toddler starts using language to express himself during times of frustration instead of only crying. That happens when it’s easy for the toddler to say words, not when he’s still learning and it takes a lot of focus to talk 🧠🗣 • • • • • #hunger4words #stellathetalkingdog #slpsofinstagram #speechtherapy #AAC #ashaigers #slp #corewords #SLPeeps #slp2be #earlyintervention #languagedevelopment #dogsofinstagram #dogmom #doglife #dogs #guarddog #animalpsychology #doglover #dogvideos #sandiegodog #catahoula #blueheeler #smartdog #dogcommunication #mydogtalks #animalcommunication #interspeciescommunication #loveanimals