If you share your home with a dog then you know that they try to communicate. Whimpers, cries, pawing and different types of barks give us insight into what our furbabies are trying to say. But what if they could use real words? It turns out it’s possible and to be honest, this may be the most exciting news of our lifetime!
Christina Hunger is a speech-language pathologist with an 18-month old Catahoula/Blue Heeler mix named Stella. Christina has experience working with young children who have speech and language deficits. Many of these children require assistive technology to communicate their wants and needs. So, as any dog mom wonders, Christina set out to see if she could teach Stella how to communicate the same way using actual words.
Stella started learning how to communicate at just 8-weeks old. Her mom taught her how to step on buttons that correspond with words that were programmed into the device. She uses these to “talk” and tell her mom her thoughts. So far, Stella knows 29 words and she’s even able to combine them to make short sentences up to five words long!
“I’m in constant amazement and shock… Every day she says something cooler than she said the day before,” Hunger told People.
Stella’s Requests Will Melt Your Heart And Drop Your Jaw
Stella was whining at the front door one day and Christina assumed she just wanted to go outside. To her amazement, Stella walked over to her communication board and tapped out, “want,” “Jake,” “come.” Stella then stood in front of the door until Christina’s fiance, Jake, came home. As if that weren’t amazing enough, Stella then pressed “happy” and assumed the position for belly rubs.
In addition to using her communication device to ask for walks, playtime and the beach, Stella also uses it to communicate her worries. She once heard a noise outside and hurriedly pressed, “look” nine times! Then she pressed “come outside” and looked to her mom for help investigating the strange noise.
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Is This The Future For Dogs Everywhere? We Hope So!
Christina says she hopes to teach other dogs how to speak in addition to teaching Stella new words and phrases.
“I just imagine how much deeper the bond will be,” Christina said.
Stella has recently started using both paws which has enabled her to build her sentences faster. Her mom also says that Stella appears to be developing conversational turn-taking skills like answering questions.
What do you think your dog would say if they learned to talk? That “treat” button would be working overtime in my house!
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