03 Jul Can dogs talk? Train your pet to talk with this TikTok trend
Can dogs talk? You might be surprised by our answer. Pet owners have gone viral on TikTok for teaching their pets to communicate with recordable buttons. These dog talking buttons are used to train your pet to associate specific words or commands with certain outcomes. How do they work? It’s all about the science behind how our dogs communicate with us already!
Our pets communicate naturally through scents, vocalization, and body language. But teaching them to talk using recordable buttons can be a fun challenge for both you and your pet, as well as a cool party trick! If you’re interested in training your dog to use buttons, understanding their natural methods of communication is important.
1. Understanding how dogs communicate
Our dogs already communicate with each other and with us. Understanding the ways they communicate is an important step before training your dog, whether it’s general behavioral training or training them to talk with the press of a button.
Most of the time you can tell what your dog is thinking by looking at them. Teach yourself the basics of canine body language with the following examples!
Happy & Relaxed Dog Language
- Loose tail wag
- Relaxed posture with mouth open
- Play bow
- Exposed belly
Worried & Nervous Dog Language
- Low-hung wagging tail
- Tucked tail
- Whale eye
- Physically moving away from a stressor (including people or other animals)
- Excessively licking their lips, even if they aren’t thirsty
- Excessive drooling
- Pinned back ears
Scared & Angry Dog Language
- Freezing (this can happen if they feel cornered, or if they’re protecting something)
- Baring their teeth
- Raised hair along their back
Understanding the basics of canine body language can tell you what exactly your dog is trying to communicate.
Dogs bark. You don’t even have to own a dog to know this. But different types of vocalization communicate different messages. Dogs typically save vocalization to communicate with other dogs. These are just a few of the ways dogs vocally communicate:
- High Pitched Yipping
Dogs use barking to communicate with humans when they want something they can’t get themselves. But dogs often use vocal cues to communicate complex messages to other dogs. Vocalization can be a warning signal, communicate excitement, fear, and so much more.
A subtle way that dogs communicate with each other is through scents. In fact, using scents allows dogs to communicate messages without being around. Dogs can mark certain spots with their scent. These scents can communicate everything from their gender to their age and health!
The way our dogs use scent is a two-way street. Not only can they leave behind scents to communicate certain messages, but they also have an amazing sense of smell that allows them an advanced level of scent detection.
Dogs accomplish this amazing level of smell through a special organ: the vomeronasal organ (or the Jacobson’s organ). This organ has specialized receptors that detect pheromones left behind by other animals. Dogs use pheromones for everything from attracting other dogs to calming down their puppies when they’re nursing. Scientists have even figured out how to create synthetic pheromones that have the same calming effect on our dogs.
2. Teach your dog to talk with buttons
Now that you understand how dogs communicate, it will be easier to train your dog to do anything! It’s important that you remember to monitor your dog’s body language throughout the process. This makes sure they stay happy and curious!
What type of button do I need for my dog?
The buttons you use to teach your dog to talk are called augmentative and alternative communication devices (AACs). These devices are support systems that can replace natural speech for those who have difficulties communicating with speech. The majority of the time these devices are for human use, but they’re a growing trend in the animal kingdom!
Bunny is a 1-year old Old English sheepdog and poodle mix who’s taken TikTok by storm with her talking skills. Before her first birthday, she already knew more than 40 words, which she uses to communicate with her owners.
How is Bunny learning these words? She uses pre-recorded buttons to express a series of thoughts or ideas. Scientists even claim that some dogs can learn up to 250 words and that most have the mental capabilities of a 2-year old child. But Bunny and her canine friends aren’t the only animals who’ve used aided AAC devices for communication. Cats can be taught the same trick!
The first step to teach your pet to talk with buttons is choosing the right button for you! There are a number of options on the market, and at the end of the day, you should choose the right button for your needs and budget. Check out these top options!
These buttons were developed by a scientist and have been endorsed by Bunny the dog. Their starter kit comes with everything you need to train your dog to talk with buttons!
This is an incredible budget option. The box comes with four buttons, but be prepared to put a little more work into the process compared to full kits made with pets in mind.
This option comes with six customizable buttons and is by far the most customizable option on the market. You can even create custom covers for each button to help your pet in the training process.
Customize these buzzers with light cues to your pets. Visual cues in addition to audible cues can help your pet during training.
3. How do I teach my dog or cat to talk with buttons?
If you’ve ever tried training a pet, you know it can be difficult. There’s a reason pet trainers and pet behaviorists exist! So where do you start?
Training your dog to talk with buttons can be something you do with the help of a professional trainer. But there are also resources that can help you begin this journey on your own with your pet!
Talk to the Beans training program
Talk to the Beans is a training program built with training your pet to communicate with buttons in mind. Their speech button training course is only $25, and while it’s meant for cats, you can use the same principles for training your dog. Be prepared to spend 10-15 minutes a day working with your pet throughout the program.
Patience is key
It’s important to remember when teaching your pet any new tricks that patience is key. Making your pet train for hours a day won’t work. Focusing on 10-15 minute time blocks a day to cover anything new or remind them of new things they tried previously is the most successful way to train your pet.
Training your pet is a fun way to bond
Taking the time to teach your pet new things can be a fun way for you to bond with your pet. Whether you tackle this activity by yourself, or hire a professional trainer, keep the process fun. Learning new things is an excellent way to enrich your pet and give them a higher quality of life. It can also be fun and exciting for you too! Enrichment is the key to keeping your pet happy and healthy through behavioral health.
PetWellClinic is dedicated to being here for pet owners. Our hours of operation extend into the evenings and weekends, and our clinic environment is built with your pet’s comfort in mind. If you have questions about how to keep your pet happy and healthy through enrichment, talk to one of our veterinary professionals at your local PetWellClinic today!
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