Who’s A Good Boy? New Study Says Puppies Love Baby Talk (Oh Yes They Do)

January 16, 2017

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If you are a true dog person you probably talk to puppies using baby talk and end up getting weird looks from strangers, or even worse – your friends. Well, next time this happens feel free to shove this article in their faces straight away.

It appears that pups love baby talk just as much as human babies do.

Recent study suggests that puppies are actually more responsive to baby talk than to “normal” human speech we use to address adult humans.

Research published last week in the biology journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B” showed some interesting results in regard to how we talk to dogs, and how dogs of different age groups, respond to different modes of human speech.

Good Boy!

During the experiment scientists gave people photos of puppies, adult dogs, and visibly old dogs, then they recorded them looking at these pictures and, for each, reciting the following words:

  • Hi!
  • Hello cutie!
  • Who’s a good boy?
  • Come here!
  • Good boy!
  • Yes! Come here sweetie pie!
  • What a good boy!

The results showed that people used a higher tone of voice and varied their pitch more when they were looking at the pictures of puppies. The humans’ pitch went up by an average of 21 percent with puppies, 13 percent with old dogs, and 11 percent with adult dogs.

The researchers then used a loudspeaker to play the different voice recordings for dogs in New York, France and Italy, and they found that puppies reacted more quickly and paid more attention to the loudspeaker that played people speaking in puppy-voices and baby talk.

Not Just For Puppies

The researchers noted that these findings have interesting implications not just for puppies, but also regarding human speech in general.

“By showing that human speakers employ dog-directed speech to communicate with dogs of all ages, this study suggests that this particular register of speech is used to engage interaction with a non-speaking, rather than just a juvenile listener”.

So there you have it – next time you see a cute puppy, we dare you not to talk to him/her in high-pitched baby voice, oh yes we do.

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