Do Dog's Enjoy Baby Talk - How To Talk To Your Dog
Who's such a good boy? Yes, you are! Yes, that's you! Ever wonder if your pup really has any clue has to what you're really saying or what you mean? If you're one of us million dog owners who talk to their pet like this, you definitely aren't the only one. How effective is this form of communication though and do you want to have a real conversation with your dog?
At times, it can seem embarrassing to talk to your pet in that squeaky, high-pitched baby voice but don't be! Talking to your pets as if they're a human is a sign of high intelligence. It's known as 'anthropomorphizing' which is when you consider something that isn't human to possess human characteristics. So even if you're talking to your golden doodle like you may talk to a baby, don't feel stupid - in reality, this is a sign you're smart!
Surprisingly, even if we wanted to stop using the cliche baby voice, it would harder than you think. A 2017 study asked 30 women to record their voice while reading phrases you might say to a dog-like, "Hi cutie, who's a good girl?'" They performed these recordings when looking at an image of a dog, and then another time when looking at an image of a human. You can image when they said the phrase while looking at the human, their voice was normal but when they looked at the picture of the dog, their voice got high-pitched and more baby-like.
It isn't just a dog's cuteness that makes using this voice so natural for us. I mean, obviously, that's a pretty big part of it still but it is also because talking to them like this is one of the best ways for them to understand us, through tone of voice. Dogs are hugely attentive animals. Have you ever noticed when you talk to them, a lot of the time they look at you as if they're listening? You typically don't get that behavior from other pets such as cats, hamsters, or guinea pigs. Even other animals that are closer to humans genetically like monkeys, don't look at humans when they speak.
Have you ever seen your pet look at you when you're talking, tilt their heads and perk up their ears? That's not just for the oh-so-cute effect, but it also shows they're trying to understand what you're communicating. Now just because they're making an effort to understand doesn't mean that they're actually interested in discussing in-depth topics with you or anything. A 2018 Emory University study discovered that dogs are most likely listening and responding to us in hopes to make us happy or getting food and treats.
This doesn't mean they don't understand or don't have their own language that they like to be spoken to in, though. It means you should use the tones and phrases that they're familiar with to remain on their level. A study from the University of York in England discovered that talking to your dog with dog-directed speech a dog-related syntax is the best way to speak to them. Which basically means things like 'wanna go for a walk buddy' is a lot more appealing and understandable to them than 'I just got some groceries.'
You can't trick your pet by using unfamiliar phrases and jargon in a high-pitched, baby-like voice. This won't work to get them excited or attentive. You must use both dog speech and dog-related words for it to fully work. Using the high-pitched voice, paired with building on your familiar phrases can also strengthen the bond between you and your pet.
So, overall if you’re someone who talks to your dog as if you’re talking to a baby, you’re doing it right! And if you don’t, you should probably give it a try.
Another tip for all you dog owners out there: listen to your dog. The length, strength, and pitch of your dog’s barking can tell you so many things about your little buddy, and help the two of you communicate better.