Speech pathologist teaches her dog to ‘speak’

We all wish our dogs could talk back to us. Well, speech pathologist Christina Hunger has made that dream a reality for her clever pooch Stella!

Using a custom sound board, Stella is able to communicate with words to her family.

The sound board is made up of multiple sound buttons with pre-recorded words on them. Stella then communicates by pressing the button with the word she wishes to communicate. For example, she presses “outside” if she wants to be let out in the yard. Stella even uses multiple buttons in succession to make short sentences, such as when her dad returns home she announces his arrival by pressing “Jake” and “outside”, as seen in the video below.

The talking sound board is more than just a novelty for Stella. She now heavily relies on using her sound board to communicate more effectively with her family. In one video, where one of the buttons had stopped working, she became distressed and pressed the “no” and “help” buttons to let her concern be known.

Stella now uses both paws to press buttons to communicate faster, responds to questions and participates in conversations. She also demonstrates communication rules, such as getting her parents attention by pressing “look”, then waiting for them to turn to her before using her device to communicate her message. Incredible!

Would you like to teach your pup to talk? Check out Christina’s website Hunger for Words to follow Stella’s progress, as well as find some handy hints and resources to get started with your best friend.

“Not being able to speak is not the same as not having anything to say.”
– Rosemary Crossley