How Common is it for Humans to Speak to Animals?
Just as parents enjoy speaking to their children because it improves the bonding between them, many pet owners (especially dog owners) enjoy speaking to their pets in a similar way and this results in the same type of intimacy.
Dog owners frequently ask their dogs, “Who’s a good boy?” in an emotional high-pitched voice because they feel just as connected to their pets as parents are to their children. This is called “dog-directed speech” or “dog speak.”
Dogs as an Effective Audience
This dog-directed speech has a positive affect on the owner’s health because the owner speaks out loud to a nonjudgmental audience and the dogs don’t need to respond to their owners besides listen to what they have to say.
Some say that the body language we use and the tone of voice we speak with make up about 80 percent of the language we use to communicate with. As a result it is easy for dogs to pick up a large portion of what we are saying even though they might not know all the vocabulary. Dogs like to listen to what the humans in their lives have to say, but never judge the speaker on what he or she says.
Many therapists and psychologists recommend talking to dogs to cope with stressful situations. Many humans feel more comfortable speaking with a dog than with another human and talking to dogs and other pets is good for their mental health.
Practicing Speaking in front of a Dog
There are people who practice saying a public speech in front of a dog because dogs serve as an effective audience. These humans often smile more when practicing a speech in front of a dog as opposed to when practicing alone. This boosts their mood and eliminates some of the stress of saying a public speech in front of a large audience.
How does this affect the dog?
This only affects the dog if the dog hears dog-related vocabulary. Dogs have a short attention span for words not related to dogs, such as “Last night I went to the movie theater with my friends.”
Dogs are much more likely to approach those who speak to them in an emotional high-pitched voice using dog-related vocabulary. Some examples of sentences directed to dogs are, “Shall we go for a walk?” and “You’re a good dog.” Dogs will usually spend a lot more time with their owners who speak to them in this manner.