Researchers Say Dogs Prefer When You Talk To Them Like A Baby
March 11, 2018
A new study claims that talking to your dog like you would a baby is the best way to build a good relationship with your pup.
Dr. Katie Slocombe, from the Department of Psychology at the University of York, said she wanted to figure out if there was any benefit to the playful way many owners talk to their dogs.
“This form of speech is known to share some similarities with the way in which humans talk to their pet dogs, known as dog-directed speech,” she said, according to the University of York’s website.
“This high-pitched rhythmic speech is common in human interactions with dogs in western cultures, but there isn’t a great deal known about whether it benefits a dog in the same way that it does a baby.”
Researchers at the University of York rounded up 37 dogs and placed them in rooms with people saying different types of phrases and using two different types of speech.
First, the dogs listened to a person talking to them in “dog-speak”, the classic high-pitched voice, coupled with dog-directed phrases like “who’s a good boy?”.
In a separate room, people spoke to the dogs in flatter tones coupled with adult-directed speech, such as “I went to the movies last night”.
Scientists monitored dogs for their attentiveness and found that they chose to spend more time with those who talked in “dog-speak.”
In a follow-up experiment, they switched it up. People talked to the dogs in a regular voice about dog-related topics and then in the “dog-speak” voice about topics unrelated to dogs.
“When we mixed-up the two types of speech and content, the dogs showed no preference for one speaker over the other,” University of York PhD student Alex Benjamin said. “This suggests that adult dogs need to hear dog-relevant words spoken in a high-pitched emotional voice in order to find it relevant. We hope this research will be useful for pet owners interacting with their dogs, and also for veterinary professionals and rescue workers.”