Why you should talk to your dog
It is known that talking to one's baby improves bonding between parent and child. Well, many pet owners view their pets as their own children, but does talking to your dog in the same way as you would a human infant have the same bonding effect? A recent study suggests so.
If you have a dog, you're likely in the habit of asking them, "Who's a good boy?" in a really high-pitched and affectionate tone of voice — sometimes to the amusement of those around you.
Pet owners do this instinctively because they feel just as attached to their pets as they may to their infant. But does this sort of "baby talk" do anything for the dog?
Researchers Alex Benjamin and Katie Slocombe, at the University of York in the United Kingdom, set out to investigate if so-called dog-speak improves bonding between pets and humans, and specifically, whether it is useful for the dogs.
Slocombe explains the motivation behind the research, saying, "A special speech register, known as infant-directed speech, is thought to aid language acquisition and improve the way a human baby bonds with an adult."
"This high-pitched rhythmic speech is common in human interactions with dogs in Western cultures, but there isn't a great deal known about whether it benefits a dog in the same way that it does a baby."
"We wanted to look at this question and see whether social bonding between animals and humans was influenced by the type and content of the communication," Slocombe says.
Their findings were published in the journal Animal Cognition.