Aa Many of you know I’m a dog lover, I have 2 Golden Doodles, Goldie, the perfect dog and Beazy, the dog from hell (Cindy says she is my dog and a daddy’s girl) Beazy will get on the counter and steal food, open packages (that aren’t addressed to her) and she even ate a marijuana edible which she stole form my desk and chewed thru plastic bag and the wrapper. This resulted in a trip to the doggie ER. The vet on duty took one look at her and said, “that’s a weed dog” She was fine the next day, but she did change my radio station to the Grateful Dead,
This article is taken in part from the NY Times article The ‘Talking’ Dog of TikTok By Emma Madden Bunny, an internet-famous sheepadoodle, has brought attention to a new area of study within animal cognition: the use of assistive technology for language acquisition.
Alexis Devine said that she knew early on that Bunny, her sheepadoodle puppy, was destined to talk. A 40-year-old artist and jewelry designer in Tacoma, Wash., Ms. Devine had pored over literature on canine cognition, communication and training in the months leading up to Bunny’s arrival.
Through her research, she came across the Instagram page of a speech pathologist named Christina Hunger, who was documenting how her own dog, Stella, was beginning to develop an English vocabulary. Stella had a soundboard made up of circular buttons, each of which dictated a word when pressed. By pawing the buttons, which together formed loosely structured sentences, Stella was supposedly communicating in English.
Ms. Hunger, 27, had been working for several years with assistive technology — in particular, alternative and augmentative communication (A.A.C.) devices — to help nonverbal children acquire vocabulary and communicate without speaking. this is common for speech pathologists
Ms. Hunger began experimenting. Most A.A.C. devices were either too expensive or unsuitable for canine use so she chose the cheapest option she could find online: a four-pack of recordable answer buzzers.
The box arrived at her San Diego home a week after Stella. Ms. Hunger decided that a button that said the word “outside” would be the best place to start when it came to walking and house training. Within a few weeks, Stella was regularly and routinely pressing the button to be let out.
Ms. Devine had read about Stella on Ms. Hunger’s blog. So, when Bunny showed up in October 2019, her own first button — “outside” — was already waiting by the door.
Is This Dog Smarter Than a Toddler?
All of this is to say, it’s clear that dogs can follow a wide array of human social cues. But outside of movies and TV shows, dog owners have seldom claimed that their pets
According to Ms. Devine, Bunny can use the buttons on her soundboard to form four-word phrases. She can ask questions. She can, and often does, tell people to shut up — or, in the words of her buttons, “settle down.”( I wish I had a shut up button for some of my clients)
“For a long time, Bunny was talking almost exclusively about poop,” Ms. Devine said. “But toddlers do that too, right? “With 6.6 million followers on TikTok and 818,000 on Instagram, Bunny has become the poster girl for Ms. Hunger’s canine A.A.C. movement. “Alexis is amazing at social media,” said Ms. Hunger, who has nearly 800,000 of her own followers on Instagram, most of whom seem to be there for the dog content.
Word Buttons, but Make It Science
In early 2020, about six months after Bunny learned “outside,” Ms. Devine was contacted by Leo Trottier, a product developer who works in the pet industry. He was hoping to work together.
In 2016, Mr. Trottier, a Ph.D. candidate with a master’s degree in cognitive science, discovered Ms. Hunger’s work, he saw an opportunity for collaboration. While Ms. Hunger and Ms. Devine were using simple prerecorded sound buttons they’d found on Amazon, Mr. Trottier was developing FluentPet, an A.A.C. device designed for dogs, and he was looking for beta testers
Mr. Trottier reached out to Federico Rossano, a former professor of his at the University of San Diego, to help him — in Dr. Rossano’s words — “science up” the product. Dr. Rossano, a cognitive researcher who has worked extensively with a range of species, was skeptical at first. But he ultimately saw an opportunity to study dogs’ capacity for language-like abilities in a systematic, rigorous way, with the potential to draw results from a participant pool unlike any he’d been given access to before.
“I think this has the potential to change our relationships with dogs forever,” Ms. Hunger said of the canine A.A.C. movement.
Animals Have Been ‘Talking’ for Centuries
Dr. Rossano said that instead of asking whether dogs can understand humans, “we can ask whether they can learn to communicate with humans using human signals.”
Still, Judith Schwarzburg-Benz, a philosopher and senior researcher at the Clever Dog Lab in Vienna, wonders how much we can truly learn about canine communication through a human lens. “What we get is a very reduced picture,” she said. “I think we can only get glimpses into the mind and learning processes, like very specific questions. “Indeed, at what point could one say with satisfaction that Bunny can talk? Would Bunny have to fulfill every item on a linguistic checklist, or only a certain number? And how would that be determined?
“If dog A.A.C. is going to be as big as I think it is, as I think it can be, it’s going to take a lot of people working in different arenas from different angles to come at it from all sides,” Ms. Hunger said. On May 4, HarperCollins published “How Stella Learned to Talk” (now a New York Times best seller) alongside the rollout of Ms. Hunger’s own buttons, which are being distributed on a mass scale, both online and in big-box stores. (A box of four costs $28.40.)“I think this has the potential to change our relationships with dogs forever,” Ms. Hunger said.
For Ms. Devine, the communication with Bunny comes back to a personal connection. She said she recently heard Bunny pressing the “ouch” button on her board. A few minutes went by before Bunny pressed “stranger” and “paw,” then stretched her arm out toward her owner. “I felt between her paws and found a thorn in there,” Ms. Devine said. “Anytime she chooses to communicate with me in a way that is not her natural communicative method, it feels really special. If she’s going out of her way because she trusts me and wants to engage, then I just know that she loves me.”
So, can dogs talk? Absolutely not. Can they communicate you bet they can. If I say the word swimming my dogs will go wild, wagging their tails and barking. They love the pool. If I go into the yard with them They will walk to the fence look at the pool and look at me.as if to say let’s go swimming. If I say let’s go outside, they will wait by the door. I don’t expect my dogs to be able to recite the Gettysburg address, (Hamlet’s soliloquy is another story, To bark or not to bark, that is the question!) but they (and most dogs) communicate just fine!
Can your dog talk?
Aa Many of you know I’m a dog lover, I have 2 Golden Doodles, Goldie, the perfect dog and Beazy, the dog from hell (Cindy says she is my dog and a daddy’s girl) Beazy will get on the counter and steal food, open packages (that aren’t addressed to her) and she even ate a marijuana edible which she stole form my desk and chewed thru plastic bag and the wrapper. This resulted in a trip to the doggie ER. The vet on duty took one look at her and said, “that’s a weed dog” She was fine the next day, but she did change my radio station to the Grateful Dead.
Dogs can learn buttons with words on them They can communicate, but they can’t vocalize, but they can learn sign language So, can dogs talk? Absolutely not. Can they communicate you bet they can! If I say the word swimming my dogs will go wild, wagging their tails and barking. They love the pool. If I go into the yard with them, they will walk to the fence look at the pool and look at me.as if to say let’s go swimming. If I say let’s go outside, they will wait by the door. I don’t expect my dogs to be able to recite the Gettysburg address, (Hamlet’s soliloquy is another story, To bark or not to bark, that is the question!) but they (and most dogs) communicate just fine!
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