Scientists at the University of York discovered that communicating with a dog in “dog-speak” is crucial to strengthening the bond between a dog and its owner.
Dogs were addressed to in a high-pitched voice during a series of tests, and then again in an adult voice.
The speakers the dogs responded to and sought out interaction with were then observed by the researchers.
According to PhD candidate Alex Benjamin, it appeared that dogs were more inclined to favor the speaker who had a high pitch.
Why do I talk down to my dog?
Recently, I overheard my brother speaking in baby babble to his Alsatian, saying amusing and strange things like, “Come to daddy, Squinkybum.” Yum-yum time has come. I laughed so hard and teased him for days following.
However, I must admit that I am just as guilty of occasionally using a baby voice when speaking to my dog. It does raise the question of why we speak to dogs in high-pitched tones and whether or not they respond to or prefer baby talk.
You can see below that I believe I have the conclusive solution after doing some research and speaking with other owners.
What makes dogs enjoy baby talk? Dogs respond to high-pitched voices that they equate with enthusiasm and enjoy baby talk. Your dog will pay attention if you speak to him in baby babble, and he will equate your strange speech and comical voice with good things.
There is no denying the fact that dogs enjoy being spoken to in a baby-like manner and tend to respond to high-pitched voices.
In fact, I’ve seen that when their owner speaks in a baby voice, they become rather enthusiastic or even cheeky. I do wonder why using and responding to baby talk is a natural instinct that both humans and dogs have.
Continue reading to learn more about baby talk’s appeal to dogs, when and how to use it, and even when not to.
Why do humans speak to animals in baby talk?
Though it may seem like a silly area of study, linguists would disagree that talking to animals is a legitimate issue. Speaking to animals is even given its own term: pet-directed speech. With some exceptions, this phrase basically relates to everything people say to a dog.
Pet-directed speech is analogous to another type of human communication that people frequently use: infant-directed speech, sometimes known as baby talk or motherese. Baby speak is characterized mostly by a slower pace and a higher pitch. Many different languages use baby talk, and studies indicate a connection between utilizing baby talk and a child’s language development. It is believed that speaking more slowly and dramatically helps babies learn language a little bit better.
However, it’s important to note that there is some debate over the advantages of baby talk. Baby talk isn’t used at all in other cultures, and the studies that do demonstrate its advantages are of a limited nature. But since baby talk is a common occurrence, there may be some embedded logic behind it.
Why we enjoy conversing with dogs and cats may be explained by the way that people communicate with other animals. As already established, there are many similarities between pet-directed communication and infant babble. Both of them are slower, more melodious, and pitched higher than speech addressed at adults. This means that while communicating with a person or animal who doesn’t speak your language, humans may instinctively change the way they speak. Even while speaking to non-native English speakers, studies have shown that English speakers sometimes employ infant-directed speech patterns (which, yes, can come across as very condescending).
The fact that there is only one distinction between baby-directed speech and pet-directed speech—vowel articulation—adds support to this viewpoint. In everyday conversation, English speakers substitute unstressed schwa vowels for anticipated vowels. Humans that speak in baby talk hyperarticulate their vowels, which means they use fewer schwas and make all of the vowels very apparent. When a language’s native speakers converse with non-native speakers, hyperarticulation also manifests. On the other hand, people don’t overarticulate their vowels when speaking to animals. This could imply that people only use hyperarticulation when there is a possibility that the person they are speaking to would respond. Even stranger, while conversing with parrots as opposed to dogs or cats, people tend to hyperarticulate their vowels more frequently. This may be because parrots can theoretically answer at times.
The gender of the speaker of the pet-directed discourse is another consideration. Women are much more likely than men to converse with their animals. Men are also less likely to use an odd pet-directed speech voice while talking to their animals.
All of this means that, despite not being accepted by all people and cultures, the impulse to speak to your pet as though it were a baby is normal. Of course, calling your dog “Mr. Cutie Tooty Little Scwuffy Muffins” in public is unacceptable.
Do dogs enjoy our baby talk?
Baby speaking is referred to in science as infant-directed speech. In the York study, researchers tested how dogs responded to conventional adult speech versus baby speak (dog-directed speech) (adult-directed speech).
The study included both typical dog-related words and phrases as well as arbitrary, non-dog-related words and phrases. Unsurprisingly, canines clearly preferred words with dog-related connotations.
More unexpectedly, the dogs preferred hearing their favorite words and the baby speak voice together. particularly puppies!
Therefore, instead of feeling ridiculous the next time you talk to your favorite four-legged family member like a baby, feel pleased. It is scientific.
Why do we voice-over our dogs?
According to Epley, we do it to connect with and make sense of the world around us. Families can strengthen bonds with their dog and each other by using amusing voices. A pet is basically a friend, and for couples, this is just another friend they share.
Do dogs believe they are infants?
Your dog might behave somewhat differently around babies, as you’ve probably noticed. In fact, you might have noticed that your dog has a particular fondness for young children, but do you know why? Even the experts don’t appear to know. It is shocking to witness how dogs regard newborns differently from humans when they can hear, smell, and sight babies but don’t fully understand what a baby is.
While your dog might not be particularly interested in adults, you could notice that they do. Although there is no proof for this, experts theorize that it may be because they can distinguish between the smells of adults and babies.
Whatever the cause, dogs frequently wag their tails when they see a baby or stroller. You may have also observed that when a baby cries or coos, your dog’s ears perk up. Additionally, your dog can start to whimper or bark at you if you keep the infant away from it.
It is your responsibility as a dog owner to keep all infants and young children safe around your dog, no matter what prompts dogs to show an interest in newborns. This calls for careful observation of all interactions and training your dog how to behave with children.
Do dogs believe they are people?
In the 30,000 years that people and dogs have coexisted, dogs have only grown in popularity and adoration as pets. Today, approximately 50% of American families have dogs.
Dogs certainly act as though they love us back, as seen by the way they beat their tails, jump onto our laps, and grab our pillows. Can we ever be certain, though, given dogs can’t tell us what’s going on inside their furry heads?
In reality, absolutely. We are beginning to have a clearer understanding of what is going on within the canine cranium as a result of recent advancements in brain imaging technologies.
Yes, that’s correct—scientists are investigating dog brains. And the study’ findings are good news for all dog owners: Dogs not only appear to love us back, but they also regard us as members of their family. In terms of affection, protection, and everything in between, it appears that dogs depend more on people than they do their own species.
The most recent neuroimaging study on olfactory processing in the canine brain provides the most conclusive proof that dogs are utterly committed to people. Emory University animal cognition researchers trained canines to remain still in an MRI machine while they measured canine neural responses to both familiar and unfamiliar canine and human odors. Dogs use their noses to navigate the world, so studying how they process smell might reveal a lot about how they behave in social situations.
The caudate nucleus, known as the brain’s “reward center,” was discovered to be activated by the smell of dog owners. Dogs actually gave the scent of people the highest priority among all other scents to take in.
These findings are consistent with other canine neuroimaging studies. Canine brain activity in response to various human and canine sounds, such as voices, barks, and the meaningful grunts and sighs both species generate, was examined by researchers at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest. Our understanding of what transpires inside canine brains when humans make noise was lacking prior to this investigation.
The study found a number of unexpected results, including striking parallels between how human and canine brains absorb emotionally charged vocal sounds. Researchers discovered that both animals’ auditory cortexes are particularly activated by pleasant noises. This similarity highlights the special, effective communication system that underlies the link between humans and dogs.
In other words, dogs are biologically designed to notice minor changes in human mood, despite the fact that they only appear to do so.
The most modern neuroscience is supported by behavioral studies. Dogs engage with their human caretakers in a similar fashion to how children do with their parents, claims Andics. Just like disturbed children rush to their parents, dogs will run to their owners when they are terrified or anxious. Contrary to most domesticated animals, cats and horses will flee when they are frightened.
Dogs are the only non-primate animal that direct its gaze directly at a person. Andics and other researchers made this discovery approximately ten years ago while researching the domestication of wolves, which they hypothesized would also exhibit this feature. To raise wolves like dogs was their goal. This is a characteristic of dogs and humans only. Dogs look people in the eye, but not their actual dog parents.
Dogs need their owners significantly more than other types of pets do, according to Andics.
Scientists have also viewed the relationship between dogs and people from the other side. It turns out that dogs feel very strongly about people. Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital examined how the brain reacts to images of dogs and kids in a study that was published in PLOS One in October. Women who have owned pets and children for at least two years were study participants. Brain areas linked to emotion, reward, affiliation, visual processing, and social interaction were active in response to both types of photographs. In essence, we are equally happy with our furry and (usually) non-furry family members.
Dog lovers have made a few prominent mistakes when reading dogs’ facial expressions, such as supposing that the frequently observed hangdog look denotes guilt, an emotion that, according to the majority of behavior specialists, calls for a complex sense of self that dogs undoubtedly lack.
However, just as with family, our gut feelings about how dogs behave are frequently accurate.
According to Laurie Santos, the director of Yale’s Canine Cognition Center, “sometimes our intuition about what’s going on inside dogs’ heads is dead-right.” According to studies, dogs are asking for our assistance, which is distinct from even their closest cousins, wolves.
A dog’s glum expression may not always be indicative of a specific want or concern. But we can take comfort in the knowledge that our pets love us just as much—if not more—than we had hoped. They view us as family even though they aren’t actual children. How about us? They will always remain our infants, I suppose.
Do dogs enjoy being kissed?
Most dogs are tolerant of their owners’ kisses. Many people even enjoy receiving kisses from their loved ones, and some may even start to equate receiving them with affection and care. Typically, they’ll wag their tails, appear alert and content, and lick you in response to your affection. Unfortunately, dog attacks to the face often result from hugging and kissing, especially when children are involved. In the US, 400 000 children are bitten by dogs each year. The majority of bites occur at home, in children under 7, and involve dogs that the children are familiar with.
Children make rash decisions and frequently approach dogs while they are eating, making them appear to be a threat. Or perhaps they’ll snuck up on them when they’re sleeping and give them a hug and kiss. Children frequently lack the ability to recognize the warning signs that a dog is refusing a kiss. When dogs are disciplined for growling or showing their teeth, they may even learn to ignore more abrasive warning signs. They might proceed directly to a nip, which would be extremely riskier.
Play it Safe
Therefore, it’s best to be cautious and refrain from kissing unacquainted canines. Especially if you acquire an older dog, keep this in mind. You never know if they may have experienced abuse or have significant trust issues. It’s unquestionably a good idea to teach kids how to behave respectfully. For gentle petting, they ought to wait till your dog approaches them. This demonstrates that the dog is at ease and secure during the interaction. You already know that dogs don’t kiss each other the same manner that people do when they are close to us. So, how can dogs express their love?
Why do humans use high-pitched voices when speaking to dogs?
Therefore, other than the fact that it elicits a response from our dogs, why do we employ that voice? Even young children or adults who encounter a dog for the first time seem to naturally understand how to use it, proving that at least in this one area, dogs and people can communicate similarly and use pitch (as do other animals).
Trainer Kyra Sundance argues in her book The Dog Rules that dogs automatically equate high-pitched stimuli with reward or excitement.
A non-threatening, tranquil, or sympathetic animal will vocalize in a high-pitched, singsong manner. She observes that while communicating with us, dogs even use a higher pitch, such as when they whine when they meet their owner.
The higher pitch we use when speaking to infants and young children conveys warmth, draws their attention, and facilitates comprehension, according to psychologist Robert Mitchell. This manner of speaking, which is also quite prevalent across languages and cultures, is frequently referred to as “motherese.”
Baby lingo. Motherese. Doggerel, DDS Whatever you want to name it, practically all mammals have a high-pitched voice that conveys the same message.
McConnell believes that even if we are unaware of the fact, we often speak in a higher volume around our dogs because many of us perceive them as children.
My hypothesis is that we mistreat pets because they are dependent on us, nonverbal, and frequently regarded as members of our family, she says. ” Therefore, it makes sense that humans would use this motherese to describe these animals, who are like newborns and are nonverbal yet to whom we have such a strong emotional relationship.
According to a different study, the language we use when speaking to dogs may induce us to speak at a higher pitch. We frequently ask dogs questions, such as “Who’s the cutest little puppy?” The ball is where? Whether we’re chatting to animals or people, we should employ positive exclamations (“Good boy!”), which have a higher pitch.