A speech therapist taught her dog how to communicate with the help of a one-of-a-kind device. Stella is at last in a position to communicate both her requests and her thoughts to her parents.
What do you think your dog would have to say if it could speak instead of barking? A decision to look into the matter was taken by a speech therapist named Christina Hunger, who has an MA and CCC-SLP certification. Stella, her dog, now has a vocabulary of 29 words and can even string whole sentences when she speaks.
Hunger, who is 26 years old, taught her pet, who is 18 months old, how to utilize a special AAC system. These tools are often used with children who are unable to verbally communicate. These children are able to express themselves by selecting one of the innumerable symbols that represent a variety of phrases. When a user presses the button on the gadget, it will say the phrase out loud so that others may hear it.
When Hunger and her fiancé got a puppy a year ago, she gave some thought to how the Catahoula-Blue Heeler mix would use a similar gadget to “talk” by hitting buttons if they had one available to them. Therefore, when Stella was just 8 weeks old, she began teaching her how to use an alternative communication device (AAC).
She described the many modes of communication that people engage in, including voice discourse, gestures, facial expressions, writing, and so on, in an essay that she published on her blog. This suggests that it is not necessarily necessary for us to be able to talk in order to communicate with others about ourselves.
Dogs have a wide range of behaviors at their disposal to communicate with their owners, including barking, whining, snarling, leaping, and sighing. Hunger wondered to herself, “What would happen if we gave dogs with a mechanism to access the words we speak to them every day?”
Due to the fact that dogs are able to comprehend and respond to linguistic signals from their human companions, Hunger tested the idea that dogs may communicate back using the same phrases through the ACC.
Outside was the first topic of discussion between Hunger and Jake. This is a well-liked phrase that almost all canines are acquainted with.
The next thing that they did was design a button that, when pushed, would pronounce the phrase out loud. They let Stella out the door and pressed the button each time they yelled “outside” in the hopes that she would ultimately learn to do the same thing for herself whenever she felt the need to leave the house or when she wanted to.
Stella eventually demonstrated to us that she was aware of the circumstance after modeling for us for a few weeks. When I was little, I would often ask, “Is it outside? Stella, do you have any interest in going outside? She immediately began growling while simultaneously looking in both ways, including up at me and down at the button.
After that, they included more terms that Stella could need in order to communicate with others, such as “food,” “drink,” “play,” “walk,” “no,” “come,” “help,” “bye,” and “love you.”
We responded to Stella’s communication by noting her message and reacting correctly rather than rewarding her with a treat for hitting a button. This was because we wanted to show her that we understood what she was saying. Stella’s thoughts and views deserve equal consideration to those of our own.
Stella eventually reached the point where she could utilize her buttons without the assistance of human instructions.
Stella would start shouting “play” whenever Jake and I were busy doing anything else, and she would continue to do so until we tossed her toy or began playing tug of war with her. Stella would yell out “Water” whenever she got close to her water bowl since she could see that it was dry. If we had finished supper but hadn’t brought up going for a walk, Stella would mutter the word “walk” over and over again while giving us the evil eye. If her toy became stuck below the sofa, she would yell “help” and then stand in the precise spot where she wanted Jake or me to check for it. She would yell “goodbye” to our friends as they were zipping up their coats or standing at the exit door.
Stella soon grew so proficient at using her buttons that she started to make observations on the goings-on around her rather than only asking for things. For example, while Hunger was caring for the plants, she would use the “water” button on the remote control (but her own water bowl was full).
Stella then started forming sentences out of the words, which was an even more amazing development.
Stella would tell us to “no eat” or “eat no” if we didn’t feed her fast enough, “walk no” if we didn’t take her for a walk, “eat play” to beg for a toy that was filled with food, and “help come” when she needed assistance in a different section of the house.
Stella was also able to vent her frustrations to her parents in the following ways:
When Jake and I did not provide her food at such an early hour, she gave us the “love you no” response before leaving the room.
Hunger informs readers that the typical dog can understand around 165 words, despite the fact that it could seem improbable that an animal could speak with such a high level of knowledge.
Dogs have been compared to the average human child of two years old in terms of their level of intellect and linguistic ability.
The experiment is continued since the participants aren’t content to stop after reading a few dozen words.