From “Love You” To “Play Ball”, Doggo Presses Word Buttons To “Talk” To Her Hooman

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Pet parents learn a lot from their dogs and in return also teach them a few things. No, we’re not talking about sitting down and shaking hands. One Harry Potter fan got creative and taught her mini Dachshund how to respond to magic spells. And one man taught his dog how to supervise while his daughter completed her homework!

According to HuffPost, a US-based speech-language pathologist named Christina Hunger taught her dog Stella how to communicate effectively. She achieved this by fashioning a panel of buttons where each buzzer denoted a particular word.

The panel has 29 words that can be strung together to form sentences. Christina reveals that she started teaching her Catahoula/Blue Heeler mix ever since she was 2 months old. The Indian Express quoted her saying,

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“We thought this button would be a good size for Stella to activate with her paw. Every time we said ‘outside’ to Stella, we modeled the use of the button by pushing it with our foot.”

“Every time we took Stella outside, we pushed ‘outside’ button before opening the door. After a few weeks of modeling, Stella showed us she was aware of what was happening. When I would ask ‘outside’, Stella wanted to go outside and she began looking down at the button, looking up at me, and barking.”

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Last night, right before this video was taken, I accidentally said “ball” on Stella’s device while I was actually reaching for a different word. But, Stella took this very seriously! She picked up her ball, dropped it on her device, and said “Good” (Translation: Good idea, Mom!) • I started recording right after she said “Good” and caught the rest of her thought: “Happy ball want outside!” • Like all AAC users, Stella thrives when we talk to her using her device and say words that she loves. She never needs to know it was on accident! 😉 • • • • • #hunger4words #stellathetalkingdog #slpsofinstagram #speechtherapy #AAC #ashaigers #slp #corewords #SLPeeps #slp2be #aacawarenessmonth #earlyintervention #languagedevelopment #dogsofinstagram #dogmom #doglife #dogs #animalpsychology #doglover #dogvideos #sandiegodog #catahoula #blueheeler #smartdog #dogcommunication #mydogtalks #animalcommunication #interspeciescommunication #loveanimals

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This technique is known as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and the results are amazing. Christina reveals her pet’s favourite word by saying, “She definitely says ‘outside’ the most. She absolutely loves being outside.”

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Stella started off the day with a great four-button phrase to tell us where she wanted to go this morning: “Park love you come outside!” • Thanks to AAC, Stella‘s desires are heard, understood, and fulfilled (unless it’s “outside” for the 48th time in a day 😜). • Instead of being Stella’s masters, we see our relationship with her as more of a collaboration. Together we can decide how to best live a happy, playful, and beautiful life because Stella actually has a say in what happens. I am forever grateful for this shared language between us! • • • • • #hunger4words #talkingdog #everyonedeservesavoice #speechtherapy #AAC #slp #corewords #SLPeeps #slpsofinstagram #slp2be #earlyintervention #languagedevelopment #dogsofinstagram #dogmom #dogs #animalpsychology #doglover #sandiegodog #catahoula #blueheeler #smartdog #dogcommunication #mydogtalks #SLPdog #dognition #animalcommunication #interspeciescommunication #loveanimals #respectanimals #dogislove

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Stella adapts her message when she isn’t feeling understood, just like we all do! If someone doesn’t understand us or we don’t get the response we were expecting, we change the words we’re using to explain ourselves better. • Watch this sequence of Stella telling us, three different ways in a row, that she wanted to go play! • First, Stella said “Come play.” When we didn’t come play, she added more details and said, “Outside play love you.” Finally, she got as specific as she could and told us, “Park.” Stella is truly a great communicator! • • • • • #hunger4words #stellathetalkingdog #slpsofinstagram #speechtherapy #AAC #ashaigers #slp #corewords #SLPeeps #slp2be #aacawarenessmonth #earlyintervention #languagedevelopment #dogsofinstagram #dogmom #doglife #dogs #animalpsychology #doglover #dogvideos #sandiegodog #catahoula #blueheeler #smartdog #dogcommunication #mydogtalks #animalcommunication #interspeciescommunication #loveanimals

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Stella now uses both her paws to “talk” to her hooman, presses “mad” several times when she’s agitated, “happy” when she’s in a good mood and “help” when one of the buttons stop working. She sure is one intelligent pupper, don’t you think?

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