Research Shows How To Talk To Your Dog

One study found that in order to grab the attention of puppies, we must speak to them in childish language.

Many people talk to their dogs in much the same way as with small children: slower and louder. We also build simpler and shorter sentences. In English, this animal, the equivalent of children’s language, is called “canine speech.”

But does it matter for four-legged friends whether we speak with them in childish or canine language? Research a few years ago took a closer look at this.

In doing so, among other things, the researchers found that most people speak to dogs of all ages in a higher voice. However, in the puppies, the field was slightly higher.

Puppies Respond Better to Babbling

On the other hand, the high tone of the voice also had a great impact on young dogs and influenced their behavior. Older dogs behaved with this “canine tongue” no differently than with normal language.

“The fact that speakers also use canine language in older dogs suggests that this language pattern may be primarily a spontaneous attempt to facilitate interaction with non-verbal listeners,” the study concludes. In other words: we have probably already learned from our interactions with puppies that dogs respond well to a child’s language. And so we try to take advantage of this with our older four-legged friends.

At the same time, however, the results of the study give a good understanding to owners of puppies: because puppy dogs can more easily focus on us if we speak to them in the language of babies – or rather, in the language of puppies.

Gestures Tell Dogs More Than Words

In the past, other studies have also shown that gestures are extremely important when interacting with dogs. Even as small puppies, dogs understand what we want to say to them, for example, by pointing our fingers.

“The study supports the idea that dogs have developed not only the ability to recognize gestures but also a special sensitivity to the human voice, which helps them know when to respond to what is said,” – explains the scientific journal “The Conversation” “Results of two studies.

In the end, it’s like with many things: only the combination is important.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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