Some people will say babies and dogs and cats are a different thing. But why it is normal to talk to your baby in a baby voice, and not normal to talk to your dog or cat in a baby voice? Some people say that talking to your pets in a baby voice makes you a crazy dog mom or crazy dog dad. But a recent dog study shows that canines react better when we talk to them in a doggie-woggie baby voice.
The recent study, published in Animal Cognition, shows that dogs pay better attention to use when we use a baby voice tone when communicating with them. In addition, dogs connect with us on a deeper level from an emotional standpoint when we use baby-talk.
What the study looked at?
The study, done in York, United Kingdom, evaluated human relationships with adult dogs. They looked specifically whether pets preferred baby voice, or what scientists call “dog-directed speech”, or DDS shortly. They looked how dogs react to DDS, and to adult-directed speech, or ADS. Researchers wanted to know whether pups react differently or equally to DDS and ADS. The latter is the voice we use when we talk to another human adult.
The dog study showed that dogs react more responsive to baby-talk, and they are more responsive when we include dog-related content in the speech. Think of the words “dog” and “walk”, for example. They do not react well to content like “Sorry, but I have to run to the supermarket without you and grab some groceries”.
One of the students at the University of York, explained “We found that adult dogs were more likely to want to interact and spend time with the speaker that used dog-directed speech with dog-related content, than they did those that used adult-directed speech with no dog-related content … When we mixed-up the two types of speech and content, the dogs showed no preference for one speaker over the other. This suggests that adult dogs need to hear dog-relevant words spoken in a high-pitched emotional voice in order to find it relevant.”
With that in mind, you can now freely go ahead and use baby voice when you talk to your furry friend. Just make sure to mix few words from the mutually understood human-doggo vocabulary, just so that you grab their attention.
The research did not look at whether cats react to baby voices better as well, or to cat-related content.