Can Your Dog Learn to Talk to You?
A new study in Scientific Reports found that gifted dogs learn new words after hearing them only 4 times. Wow! They found that more learning took place in social playtime rather than in task-based learning. This means that if you are trying to teach your dog the names of a few of their toys, you’ll have better luck if you repeat the toy’s name while you are playing with him. If you sit him down and try and teach him new words, he likely won’t do anywhere near as well in learning vocabulary.
Most dogs we have had the pleasure to live with or work with aren’t always quite that gifted. However, your pooch already talks to you in many ways, and you can teach him to communicate with you even more. For example, most dogs learn to tell their people when they need to go out. Some people even teach their pooch to ring a cowbell that hangs from the doorknob when they need a potty break. Another system uses a button that buzzes – there are many videos on the internet showing dogs that ask to go out by pressing a button.
Your dog probably knows what “dinner time” means or “fetch.” Teaching a dog to grab things you point at while saying “get it” is not complicated either. So, you and your dog are already talking! Your buddy will learn better if you use hand signals paired with a word; after all, we all learn differently, and the more signals, the better.
Many people have spent some of this COVID lockdown teaching their best friend new tricks. If you want to teach your dog better communication, start small, make it fun, and be patient.
Look at this Instagram account of a speech therapist teaching her dog, Stella, to communicate with buttons.
This is a great video on Facebook teaching a dog to talk and do some tricks with buttons and modeling. It’s fun!
Even if your pooch isn’t a gifted learner, you can still teach him a few tricks. It will strengthen your bond with him, and the more time you spend with your dog, the more rewarding life will be for both of you.