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I would love to try this with our next dog...

We had one German Shepherd who would go to the door and howl something like "owwww yowww yowwwww" when he needed to go outside.  I was able to get him to shorten it to something that sounded very close to 'out'.  One time we were entertaining friends in our living room when our GS walked up to the door and said 'out'!  I remember casually getting up and letting him out--continuing our conversation the whole time...when I returned to my chair the wife had a confused look on her face-- 'Am I crazy or did your dog just talk?!"

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34 minutes ago, Jann in TX said:

I would love to try this with our next dog...

We had one German Shepherd who would go to the door and howl something like "owwww yowww yowwwww" when he needed to go outside.  I was able to get him to shorten it to something that sounded very close to 'out'.  One time we were entertaining friends in our living room when our GS walked up to the door and said 'out'!  I remember casually getting up and letting him out--continuing our conversation the whole time...when I returned to my chair the wife had a confused look on her face-- 'Am I crazy or did your dog just talk?!"

Someone should introduce her to huskies.

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I’ve really wanted to try it, but I don’t think my dog is strong/heavy enough to actually activate buttons! And he does manage to communicate with his different voices pretty well.

I do think we’ll do some when we get a bigger dog. While I’m fascinated by Bunny on TikTok, I don’t have any desire to have a massive layout that gives me a dog Ouija board vibe, lol. A few basic nouns and verbs are fine, thanks!

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I’ve only seen a video or two of some basic button training with just a few words. Billi is absolutely fascinating. At least I don’t have to search through Netflix to find anything to watch for a very long time.

I don’t think my cat would be a good candidate for buttons. My son’s cat, however, would probably be phenomenal. She has a very unusual personality and is very, very smart.
 

 

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No. I've seen a few videos and am flabbergasted that so many people think they're legit. The first thing I thought of was Clever Hans, whose story is explained in this article --

Debunking the Viral Talking Dog of TikTok (Medium)

Now, the stuff on the internet could be outright fakes. Those videos are money makers, so there's plenty of incentive to fake. But owners unknowingly signal their dogs all the time, for all sorts of things. I've unknowingly taught dogs hand signals. I didn't realize I was making the same gesture each time I said a command until . . .boom, the lightening bolt hit and I realized I was teaching a hand signal without realizing it. And what I was doing those times wasn't subtle. One other thing I did was inadvertently cueing a dog in an extremely subtle way--I was inadvertently cueing my dog to be leash reactive to other dogs just by squeezing the leash a little harder when I saw another dog approaching. Not shortening it up, pulling my dog closer to me. Just tightening my grip, squeezing the part I was holding a tiny bit harder. I was cueing him to react. It is very, very easy to cue a dog without realizing it. Most people have no idea, and would adamantly, sincerely swear they're not doing a thing to signal the dog.

But I am interested in what the research that is being done by UC San Diego (The Verge) will find.

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2 hours ago, Pawz4me said:

No. I've seen a few videos and am flabbergasted that so many people think they're legit. The first thing I thought of was Clever Hans, whose story is explained in this article --

Debunking the Viral Talking Dog of TikTok (Medium)

Now, the stuff on the internet could be outright fakes. Those videos are money makers, so there's plenty of incentive to fake. But owners unknowingly signal their dogs all the time, for all sorts of things. I've unknowingly taught dogs hand signals. I didn't realize I was making the same gesture each time I said a command until . . .boom, the lightening bolt hit and I realized I was teaching a hand signal without realizing it. And what I was doing those times wasn't subtle. One other thing I did was inadvertently cueing a dog in an extremely subtle way--I was inadvertently cueing my dog to be leash reactive to other dogs just by squeezing the leash a little harder when I saw another dog approaching. Not shortening it up, pulling my dog closer to me. Just tightening my grip, squeezing the part I was holding a tiny bit harder. I was cueing him to react. It is very, very easy to cue a dog without realizing it. Most people have no idea, and would adamantly, sincerely swear they're not doing a thing to signal the dog.

But I am interested in what the research that is being done by UC San Diego (The Verge) will find.

I think we all may have our own ideas about talking/communicating/signaling/meaning. Like, I don’t really think Bunny is trying to convey what she dreams about when she’s sleeping. I do believe with 100% certainty that my dog is knowingly and eagerly communicating the affirmative response to “Do you have to go out” with a jump and a spin and could transfer that to a button that said “yes” if given the opportunity. Would he use a “no” button instead of just ignoring my question if he didn’t have to go? I’m not as certain. 
Still, it’s communication with genuine meaning. Lots of us refer to that as “talking”. We call it that for babies, people using ASL, and people running foreign languages through online translators and then deduce the real meaning in spite of poor translation results, lol. 
 

Pretending Bunny is having an existential crisis is just entertaining. To me. 

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3 hours ago, Pawz4me said:

No. I've seen a few videos and am flabbergasted that so many people think they're legit. The first thing I thought of was Clever Hans, whose story is explained in this article --

Debunking the Viral Talking Dog of TikTok (Medium)

Now, the stuff on the internet could be outright fakes. Those videos are money makers, so there's plenty of incentive to fake. But owners unknowingly signal their dogs all the time, for all sorts of things. I've unknowingly taught dogs hand signals. I didn't realize I was making the same gesture each time I said a command until . . .boom, the lightening bolt hit and I realized I was teaching a hand signal without realizing it. And what I was doing those times wasn't subtle. One other thing I did was inadvertently cueing a dog in an extremely subtle way--I was inadvertently cueing my dog to be leash reactive to other dogs just by squeezing the leash a little harder when I saw another dog approaching. Not shortening it up, pulling my dog closer to me. Just tightening my grip, squeezing the part I was holding a tiny bit harder. I was cueing him to react. It is very, very easy to cue a dog without realizing it. Most people have no idea, and would adamantly, sincerely swear they're not doing a thing to signal the dog.

But I am interested in what the research that is being done by UC San Diego (The Verge) will find.

That debunking article was interesting.  Makes sense.  I also taught my dog a hand signal command without realizing it.  I taught her to sit and wait for her food.  In the beginning she would stand and wait, looking at me the entire time. So I would say ‘sit’ while doing a very small down movement with my index  finger. One day I noticed I did the index finger down movement without saying sit and she sat!  Pretty exciting to me….I have never been able to train a dog.  Not sure if I am just trying harder or if she is super smart…..I suspect a combination of both.

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44 minutes ago, Carrie12345 said:

I do believe with 100% certainty that my dog is knowingly and eagerly communicating the affirmative response to “Do you have to go out” with a jump and a spin and could transfer that to a button that said “yes” if given the opportunity. Would he use a “no” button instead of just ignoring my question if he didn’t have to go? I’m not as certain. 
Still, it’s communication with genuine meaning. Lots of us refer to that as “talking”. We call it that for babies, people using ASL, and people running foreign languages through online translators and then deduce the real meaning in spite of poor translation results, lol. 

Sure. I believe dogs communicate all the time. Almost everything they do is a communication in some way or other. But of course mostly I mean by their body language and demeanor. I pay attention to almost every twitch of an ear or flick of an eye my dogs make, because it all means something. But I think it says a tremendous amount about human hubris that we assume dogs would communicate or even think in ways that are very similar to us. I mean--maybe they do. But I think it's at least equally as likely that it's far different. I think dogs are smart in ways we can't even begin to imagine. Its kind of the same way that most humans tend to think any "intelligent" life form from another planet would resemble us in some way--either physical appearance and/or thought processes, values, etc. Maybe, but also could be vastly different in ways we can't even imagine.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, klmama said:

Dogs already communicate.  We just have to pay attention. I wouldn't want to have to hear words for it all.  

 

I was most interested in some of the “Stella” story, especially one where she communicated an ouch problem and got a problem resolved sooner than might have happened otherwise, and another where she indicated “mad” about not getting something expected (opposite idea of in the moment only - humans may more think dog won’t remember if a trip to park is mentioned but not carried out, or a treat isn’t given when expected . These at least made me think differently about dog expectations and not casually saying something the dog understands and then not following through.) 



I agree that they communicate. My current one has some clear communications in “dog sign language”. And also will try to vocalize —sometimes showing disappointment at how little dog language I understand.
 

And obviously showing up with a frisbee and dropping it in a lap means wanting to play 🙂

 

Where I think words could help: 

We sometimes get into frustration when he indicates that there’s a problem of some sort, but I don’t know what it is. It would be nice if he could tell me instead of having a guessing game where if I get it right he wags as doggy “yes” if it’s a happy thing or gives me another “yes” indication if not a happy thing.  But where sometimes I never do figure out the problem. 
 

(Eta: New pup is tailless which means a whole area of dog sign language will be missing.) 
 

But probably the things where words would particularly help would take a lot of teaching to get to.
 

Like I think it could be especially helpful to have names of all different body areas to be able to indicate where an “ouch” is - or where other not feeling well is,

or names for locations to indicate if there’s a stranger, where is it, and what type is it like human or bear or cougar ... 

 

 

I think I won’t try to get buttons in time for puppy arrival but will start with reading the Stella book 

How Stella Learned to Talk: The Groundbreaking Story of the World's First Talking Dog https://www.amazon.com/dp/0063046830/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_1XE1M6VH3NSFDDFM2ZN8

 

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My dog pushes a button to go outside and to come back in but not the 'talking' buttons.  I don't buy it and I haven't even read the article above.  Since our new home he has to go through 2 doors to get in/out we just purchased the doorbells since I can no longer hear his regular button from outside.   So now he pushes his 'doorbell' on the outside porch and it rings inside the house.    It really does make it easier for him to let us know he wants to go in and out.

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3 hours ago, MercyA said:

My dog already has one--this doorbell. Works beautifully. I would never have another dog without one.

My grandpuppy has one of these. He rings it every time he wants anything (outside to potty, outside to bark at squirrels or runners, wants food, wants attention, wants to play). He stands there ringing it over and over. I think it's hilarious.

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1 minute ago, mom2scouts said:

My grandpuppy has one of these. He rings it every time he wants anything (outside to potty, outside to bark at squirrels or runners, wants food, wants attention, wants to play). He stands there ringing it over and over. I think it's hilarious.


I had a bell type thing for a dog 4 dogs ago and removed it due to overuse...  also very tight quarters and it got rung accidentally 

too little space might also be a talking buttons problem 

maybe I should increase thinking about other ways to communicate...

 

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One of my relatives bought the system for their pup. They live far away, so I haven’t personally seen it in use. But supposedly he uses the buttons for out, different people, different places, cuddle, etc. They got their first pet quite old and think their dog and the system are amazing. But they are the type to brag about everything, so who knows.

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3 hours ago, MercyA said:

My dog already has one--this doorbell. Works beautifully. I would never have another dog without one.


For coming in from outside that could be a good idea. Current dog uses a high pitched whine noise which tends to penetrate like a crying baby - but not disturb neighbors like barking would - and I expect he would teach that to new pup, but maybe not 

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3 hours ago, MercyA said:

My dog already has one--this doorbell. Works beautifully. I would never have another dog without one.

Just curious, does the outside bell ring outside?  The one we purchased only rings inside at the receiver.   It is fine for our current well trained dog but we will be getting a new puppy soon and I feel he will train better if both buttons make a sound.   Hope that makes sense.

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15 minutes ago, mom2scouts said:

My grandpuppy has one of these. He rings it every time he wants anything (outside to potty, outside to bark at squirrels or runners, wants food, wants attention, wants to play). He stands there ringing it over and over. I think it's hilarious.

He needs buttons so he can tell you!!!!😂

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23 minutes ago, mom2scouts said:

My grandpuppy has one of these. He rings it every time he wants anything (outside to potty, outside to bark at squirrels or runners, wants food, wants attention, wants to play). He stands there ringing it over and over. I think it's hilarious.

We had my daughter's dog trained to use an old push button bell to go outside. He was great about it and she still uses it for him.  

I taught my dog to use the bell and she rang it constantly!!!! She wants to do a 30 second perimeter search for squirrels and birds about every minute and a half. LOL I was still working on training her to be a bit more selective on when she wanted to go potty.  Then one day I found her being bored and chewing on the bell. 😞  It had to go away. 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Pawz4me said:

No. I've seen a few videos and am flabbergasted that so many people think they're legit. The first thing I thought of was Clever Hans, whose story is explained in this article --

Debunking the Viral Talking Dog of TikTok (Medium)

Now, the stuff on the internet could be outright fakes. Those videos are money makers, so there's plenty of incentive to fake. But owners unknowingly signal their dogs all the time, for all sorts of things. I've unknowingly taught dogs hand signals. I didn't realize I was making the same gesture each time I said a command until . . .boom, the lightening bolt hit and I realized I was teaching a hand signal without realizing it. And what I was doing those times wasn't subtle. One other thing I did was inadvertently cueing a dog in an extremely subtle way--I was inadvertently cueing my dog to be leash reactive to other dogs just by squeezing the leash a little harder when I saw another dog approaching. Not shortening it up, pulling my dog closer to me. Just tightening my grip, squeezing the part I was holding a tiny bit harder. I was cueing him to react. It is very, very easy to cue a dog without realizing it. Most people have no idea, and would adamantly, sincerely swear they're not doing a thing to signal the dog.

But I am interested in what the research that is being done by UC San Diego (The Verge) will find.


I talked with someone from the UCSD team and if I decide to do it will sign up with them

 

l asked about teaching of body parts and learned some people are already doing that.


Once a dog gets the idea of words body parts may not be as hard as something more abstract.  Nor as hard as something like “cougar” where we don’t encounter cougars often, nor when we do would we be thinking about word teaching in the moment ... it’s possible that something like cougar pee could be used, but very likely too big a leap 

Apparently specific nouns of common things in dog life are being found easiest to teach  (water, food, Mom, ball, etc).

If I’d known during early homeschooling years it might have made a good project based learning area 

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See, this is maybe where a little knowledge is a bad thing. I know enough about dog behavior and the inadvertent signals humans can send them that I couldn't have any fun with the buttons, or take any results seriously. Because I'd always be doubting that I wasn't cueing the dog in a completely oblivious way, or even that the dog--in an effort to please, as most dogs want to do--would "tell" me things it thought I wanted it to say. That's why I'd rather leave these things to trained researchers, although I still take their results with a spoonful of salt because of how incredibly difficult I think it is to study these things. I do think it's quite easy to teach dogs lots of nouns. Any of us who has had a dog and given its toys names knows that. There are reports of dogs who have learned over 1000 nouns. And we know we can teach them lots of verbs (sit, stay, come, give, etc.). But that to me is totally different than a dog expressing abstract thoughts. Here's an interesting NYT article about Chaser, a dog who learned at least 1,022 nouns. It also touches (again) on the story of Clever Hans and how difficult it is to NOT inadvertently cue dogs.

Quote

The 1,022 words in Chaser’s vocabulary are all proper nouns. Dr. Pilley also found that Chaser could be trained to recognize categories, in other words common nouns. She correctly follows the command “Fetch a Frisbee” or “Fetch a ball.” She can also learn by exclusion, as children do. If she is asked to fetch a new toy with a word she does not know, she will pick it out from ones that are familiar.

Haunting almost every interaction between people and animals is the ghost of Clever Hans, a German horse that in the early 1900s would tap out answers to arithmetic problems with his hoof. The psychologist Oskar Pfungst discovered that Hans would get the answer right only if the questioner also knew the answer. He then showed that the horse could detect minute movements of the questioner’s head and body. Since viewers would tense as Hans approached the right number of taps, and relax when he reached it, the horse knew exactly when to stop.

People project their expectations onto animals, particularly dogs, and can easily convince themselves the animal is achieving some humanlike feat when in fact it is simply reading cues unconsciously given by its master. Even though researchers are well aware of this pitfall, interpreting animal behavior is particularly tricky. In the current issue of Animal Behaviour, a leading journal, two previous experiments with dogs have been found wanting.

In one report, researchers say they failed to confirm an experiment showing that dogs would yawn contagiously when people yawn. Another report knocks down an earlier finding that dogs can distinguish between rational and irrational acts.

The danger of Clever Hans effects may be particularly acute with border collies because they are bred for the ability to pay close attention to the shepherd. Dogs that ignore their master or the sheep do not become parents, a fierce selective pressure on the breed’s behavior. “Watch a collie work with a sheepherder and you will come away amazed how small a gesture the person can do to communicate with his dog,” said Alexandra Horowitz, a dog behavior expert at Barnard College and author of “Inside of a Dog.”

 

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I feel like people dunk on Clever Hans all the time, and I just want to say something in his defense - he may not have known words or how to count, but learning to pound his foot until the nice human in front of him subtly relaxed is still pretty darn clever!

Likewise, a dog who knows to hit THIS button to go out and THAT button to get water may not really be any more clever than the dog who scratches the door to go out and lifts up his water bowl and carries it to you to get water (both examples from my poodle) but it's still plenty smart, even if the dog doesn't really know the word "out" or "water".

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Oh, absolutely. I'm fascinated by how very, very adept Hans must have been at reading humans.That type of intelligence is what I'd love to see studied more, instead of humans trying to find out if animals are intelligent in the same ways we are (although in fairness I guess research in one area would likely lead to other areas). And I doubt Hans was all that exceptional--I think all of our dogs (and maybe horses, too--I don't know that much about them) are reading us all the time and are exceptionally skilled at it. It's why it's so hard to NOT cue them. They are just that smart at reading every single little movement we make.

I'd love to have some virtual reality type thing where I could get even a small inkling of what it's like to be a dog--to be able to smell and hear like one, etc. Just for a few minutes.

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3 hours ago, mom2scouts said:

My grandpuppy has one of these. He rings it every time he wants anything (outside to potty, outside to bark at squirrels or runners, wants food, wants attention, wants to play). He stands there ringing it over and over. I think it's hilarious.

 I have literal bells on the inside door that she rings when she wants out. Which is all the damn time bc as you point out - to bark bc SQUIRRELS and to bark. Gah. I’m never had such a barker of a dog before. Inside she’s very quiet. Outside? Barkbarkbarkbark. She climbs up the slide on the play set just to bark from the top of it. She comes “this close” to making it all the way up my tulip magnolia tree so she can bark there. Twice I’ve caught her having the time of her life making her bark echo by barking up the gutter spout. 

But to come in the dadblum house? Nope. Silent as could be as she jumps and repeatedly cracks my storm door. 🤦‍♀️ I got her to stop doing that by putting reversible duct tape on it (I means it’s broke now so double use) and after the first time she stuck to the door a bit she stopped. LOL now she scratch’s the heck out of the door frame. 🤬 so. I’m waiting for an exterior doorbell to arrive in the mail.  I tried putting regular actual bells hanging off the outside door but A) not loud enough inside and B) squirrels loved chewing the darn thing because C) they could see and hear that it drive my inside critters INSANE. 
 

and yes I have vigilante vandalizing squirrels. They also throw stuff from the trees at my dogs and sit right in the outside window sill to eat knowing my cats are watching them. 

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On 8/1/2021 at 12:20 PM, zimom said:

Just curious, does the outside bell ring outside?  The one we purchased only rings inside at the receiver.   It is fine for our current well trained dog but we will be getting a new puppy soon and I feel he will train better if both buttons make a sound.   Hope that makes sense.

We don't use an outside bell at all--I'm sorry! Our dog just rings it when she needs to go outside, and we always take her out on a leash.

I see what you mean, though. I'm pretty sure you can purchase a bigger set with two receivers. I don't see why you couldn't put one outside, as long as it was out of the weather.

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On 7/31/2021 at 11:28 PM, Hen said:

I haven't, but I am thinking about doing it the next dog we get...(my 12 year old dog just passed away ) 

 

Deepest sympathy, Hen. I'm so sorry for your loss. image.png.5ea1cf3f6b82688b06029efb333c57b8.png

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On 8/1/2021 at 9:20 AM, zimom said:

Just curious, does the outside bell ring outside?  The one we purchased only rings inside at the receiver.   It is fine for our current well trained dog but we will be getting a new puppy soon and I feel he will train better if both buttons make a sound.   Hope that makes sense.

I also have a Pebble Smart doorbell.  The inside one was taught first and Juliet learned it very well.  (The battery is dead now and she still presses it even if there is no sound.  But I can hear the "click" of her pressing it so I still respond as well.  😉  )

We did try one outside.  But for whatever reason Juliet did not learn that one.  Perhaps because she had already learned that jumping up on the sliding door would get my attention quite quickly?  Maybe we should have taught both sides at the same time. . .  

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I have followed Stella for a few years, and I read the book her person wrote:

https://www.betterworldbooks.com/product/detail/How-Stella-Learned-to-Talk--The-Groundbreaking-Story-of-the-World-s-First-Talking-Dog-9781665076555

At my age (and given my health concerns), I don't think it would be responsible to adopt a puppy, so I won't have the opportunity to actually try this. However, seeing how my own 12-year-old dog has developed ways to communicate with us, I don't for one second doubt that she would have been capable of learning to use this kind of system and that she would have been very expressive. 

 

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