Researchers at the University of York report pooches respond better to dog-directed speech (DDS) as opposed to when we talk to them.
To test this theory, researchers rounded up 37 dogs and had them listen to a person talking to them in “dog-speak” — the classic high-pitched voice, coupled with “dog-relevant” phrases (e.g. Who’s a good boy?).
Then, people would speak to the dogs in flatter tones about more mundane things (e.g. “I went to the cinema last night”).
“This form of speech is known to share some similarities with the way in which humans talk to their pet dogs, known as dog-directed speech,” Katie Slocombe from the University of York’s Department of Psychology says in a statement.
“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.”
The team found that the dogs chose to spend more time with the people who spoke to them in “dog-speak” using “dog relevant” words. It’s the combination of pitch and content that the dogs feel most favorably about.
“When we mixed-up the two types of speech and content, the dogs showed no preference for one speaker over the other,” Alex Benjamin, a Ph.D. student from the University of York’s Department of Psychology, says. “
This suggests that adult dogs need to hear dog-relevant words spoken in a high-pitched emotional voice in order to find it relevant.”
Cat people may try that with their master.