Do you speak in a goofy voice to your dog? Kind of like baby talk? That’s good! It’ll create a closer bond with your dog. Researchers at the University of York in the UK found that when we talk to our dogs in a sing-songy tone, with happy inflections, and a higher pitch – our dogs are more likely to pay attention to us!
During a series of tests, dogs were spoken to in a high-pitched voice and again in a normal adult voice. In some instances, they used dog-realted phrases like “you’re a good dog!” and “wanna go for a walk?” Then, they had people say things to the dogs that they would say to another human, like “I went to the movies last night” or “I need to run some errands.” And again, sometimes it was said in baby talk – sometimes it was said normally.
The result? The scientists found dogs were more likely to want to spend time with the person who used both baby talk AND dog-related content. The researchers concluded that adult dogs need to hear dog-relevant words, spoken in a high-pitched emotional voice, in order to find it relevant. And when we DO do that, our dogs not only pay closer attention to us, for a longer length of time – they also BEHAVE better. And, as a result, we end up having closer, more rewarding relationships with our dogs.
So bottom line: The next time you talk to your dog – especially if you’re trying to teach them something – don’t feel any shame talking to them in a tone that’s five decibels higher than your normal speaking voice. It’s not only our natural instinct; it’s also a win-win for the both of you. Now who’s a good girl?