Meet Christina and her talking dog Stella. Talking dog?
Well, let’s explain.
Christina Hunger a speech-language pathologist who decided to use her expertise to teach her dog Stella to “talk” to hoomans.
Stella, who resides with mommy in San Diego knows how to communicate 29 different words and even some sentences. She does so by pressing on a panel of buttons that are programmed to say individual words or phrases.
“She definitely says ‘outside’ the most”, tells a smily Christina to CNN. “She just absolutely loves being outside.”
In one video, when Stella heard noises outside that she was desperate to investigate, she repeatedly pushed the “Look” button, then “come” and “outside” to form this absolutely dog-like sentence: “Look, look, look, look, look, look, look, look, look! Come outside!”
Other phrases Stella uses include “Come play” and “Happy ball want outside!”
Christina said she applies similar principles to Stella that she would on a child ― lots of time, repetition and practice. She began teaching her blue heeler/Catahoula mix a year and a half ago, when she noticed that Stella was already communicating with “gestures and vocalisations.” Christina just developed this skill by adding words, giving her girl opportunities to practice.
For example, if Stella would be in an agitated state, Christina would say the word “mad,” and repeatedly push the button for that word. Or the same for “happy” when she was in a good mood.
In one clip, Stella even communicates that she needs help when a button she pushed was not working!
For dog-lovers who are eager to communicate with their own pups, Christina lists resources on her blog “Hunger for Words,” which documents her journey with Stella.
“First thing to do is to start speaking to your pet,” she told CNN. “Notice how they’re already communicating and start putting words to those gestures or behaviours. Then you get those buttons and program them with the matching words. Use them all the time, and soon your kids will speak hooman.”
Follow Stella’s amazing journey on Instagram: @hunger4words
WOW…I think we need those buttons. Our kids already have the doggie-door bell, which they use to come into the house without scratching the doors, but they also use it to tell us when they want cookies…! (this is when the door is wide open, but they keep on ringing and ringing until we just have to give in… smart kiddos!)