Look at you! Look at you! You are the cutest little reader I’ve ever seen. Yes you are. Yes you are! You’re just the sweetest reader ever. What a good reader! And, yes, you’re a genius, too. So very smart. Just a good good good pretty genius reader. Yes. Yes!
Talk to a baby like that (and most people do) and you’re going to get a reaction, studies show. You’re going to hold their attention, stimulate their brain, and (put most unscientifically) make them feel warm and bubbly inside.
Talk to a dog like that — especially if it’s a puppy and you have a higher-pitched, female type voice — and you’re going to achieve the same, a new study suggests. They’ll be more responsive and more likely to retain what (though it’s mostly gibberish) you’re saying.
Talk to your website readers like that, and they’re likely to think you’ve gone off the deep end, that you’re either stalking or patronizing them, and report you to the Internet police.
But you wouldn’t do that. Would you, pretty reader? Noooo. ‘Cuz you’re a good reader. Yes! You’re such a sweetie pie. Yes! Yes!
The findings show that the voice pitch and patterns of humans may help dogs learn words, as is believed to be the case with human babies.
To find out how dogs reacted to human speech, Nicolas Mathevon, a bioacoustician at the University of Lyon in Saint Étienne, France, recorded the voices of 30 women.
The women were asked to read the scripted phrases as they would to dogs, and as they would to humans. For the dog-directed readings, researchers provided them with photos of dogs to help them get in the mood.
Each woman read the following words: “Hi! Hello cutie! Who’s a good boy? Come here! Good boy! Yes! Come here sweetie pie! What a good boy!”
The women read the words as they would to a puppy, as they would to an older dog, and as they would to a human.
The recordings were then played to dogs — 10 puppies and 10 adult dogs at a New York City animal shelter.
Nine of the 10 puppies reacted strongly to the pupy-directed recordings, barking and running toward the loudspeaker and even going into a play stance.
The pups were less interested when the women were using the lower pitched, less playful voices they would use while talking to other humans.
The older dogs, possibly having heard their fill of baby talk, didn’t react at all — likely because they’d become more attuned to their master’s voice and less to those of strangers.
The study’s findings were presented this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Why we talk to babies this ultra-animated, affirmation-filled way — both our own and those we’re just meeting — is instinctual. Why we talk to dogs, especially puppies, like this, is a result of their big-eyed, baby-like appearance that brings out similar instincts in us.
In the study, the women’s exaggerated, high-pitched speech served far better to get the attention of the dogs, said Mathevon, who believes this way of talking may help dogs learn words.
I couldn’t find an explanation of why only women’s voices — 30 of them aged 18 to 55 — were used in the study, but I’d guess it’s because women are generally better at, and less embarrassed, at using baby talk in public.
Most of my dogs have favored women. Ace always preferred females, and my dog new dog, Jinjja, is much more comfortable around them too. If he hears a female voice in the distance he pulls toward it, if he hears a male one, he stops or retreats.
A lot of it I think is simply a matter of pitch. A higher pitch is less threatening.
Likely, with Jinjja, it also has to do with how he was raised. Probably, men ran the Korean dog farm he was rescued from, and during and after that rescue it was probably mostly women who were kind to him.
The same is probably true of many a shelter or rescue dog. Given women make up the bulk of the staff and volunteers at animal rescue and shelter operations, those dogs often tend to associate a female voice with food, warmth and safety.
Possibly, dogs have figured out females are the kinder and more nurturing gender (though that might be a little sexist to say). Or it could be women’s voices, in general, sound more like squeaky toys (though that might be a little sexist to say).
But you’re not going to hold that against me. Nooooooo. You’re too nice to do that, aren’t you? Aren’t you? You’re such a good reader. Yes, you are.
(Photos by John Woestendiek / ohmidog!)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 12th, 2017 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, attention, babies, baby talk, bioacoustics, cognition, communicating, communication, dog, dog-directed speech, dogs, female, good dog, good reader, how you say it, human, inflections, interaction, learning, listen, listening, male, nurturing, older dogs, pets, pitch, puppies, shelter, speech, speech patterns, study, tones, University of Lyon, voice, voice patterns, voices
Maybe you can blame his owner — for not getting his front door fixed, and for not getting Raider fixed — but the 4-year-old Labrador mix was only doing what intact dogs tend to do, when the neighbor dog goes into heat.
The mutt went out the unlatched front door, and over to the home of a neighbor, who authorities say shot Raider twice when he caught him copulating with his prized purebred.
The neighbor, Randall Schexnayder, 51, of Metairie, was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana.
Raider is expected to recover from gunshot wounds to the muzzle and neck, according to his owner, Jim Hanley, 43. The dog disappeared last Wednesday, returning a few hours later covered in blood. Initially, Hanley thought Raider had been hit by a car, the Times-Picayune reported.
He took the dog to a vet, who told him Raider had been shot.
Hanley told the sheriff’s office who he suspected. A couple of neighbors had complained about Raider getting loose, and one had warned Hanley that he would take action if he ever caught Raider mounting his purebred dog.
When deputies called on that neighbor — Schexnayder — he admitted shooting the dog. He told the deputies he chased the dog off once, but when the dog returned, and attempted to mount his pet — whose breed wasn’t identified — he shot Raider twice with a .22-caliber pistol.
Schexnayder turned the gun and Raider’s collar over to authorities and was briefly jailed before being released on bond, according to the New Orleans Advocate.
Hanley, while not denying his dog accosted his neighbor’s purebred, said that doesn’t justify his dog getting shot.
“I understand that (a strange dog mating with a prize female) would be upsetting, but it would never cross my mind to pull out a firearm,” he said. “I think my first move would have been calling animal control. I mean, my Lord.”
Raider is named after the Archbishop Rummel High School Raiders.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 5th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, breeds, charges, cruelty, dogs, female, jefferson parish, lab, labrador, louisiana, male, mix, mount, mounted, mounting, mutts, neighbors, pets, purebred, retriever, sheriff, shooting, shot
Turns out the cat I took in off the streets of South Baltimore — just to watch over until you (and I do mean you) adopt it — isn’t a boy after all.
Miles, from nowhere, is now officially Miley.
I first noticed Miley about two weeks ago, when I stepped out of Bill’s Lighthouse Inn for a cigarette. She was living on, and under, the wooden stairs of the empty house next door. I walked over and said hello, and she was happy for the company, making me think that she probably wasn’t one of the feral felines that roam the corner.
I gave her a spare dog biscuit that was in my coat pocket, which she ignored until I broke it up into little pieces. At that point, she scarfed it down and began nuzzling up against me.
After that, my dog Ace and I began stopping by on our way to Riverside Park to check on her, dropping her off some cat food from time to time — as others were doing as well, including Brooke, a neighbor who lives around the corner.
The cat spent most of her time in a well beneath the stairs, filled with wooden planks, which were full of nails she had to navigate past on her way in and out.
Four nights ago, Brooke and I happened to check on the cat at the same time. She’d been feeding her everyday, and even brought her home, only to learn that Miley, while she didn’t have any problem with Caesar the Rottweiller, didn’t get along with her two cats.
We’d both done some checking around to see if anyone knew the cat. Nobody did, but I found out she had squeezed her way into both the Lighthouse and Leon’s Bar, across the street, only to get ejected. There were some reports as well that some street corner lowlifes had been kicking her.
With a big snow on the way, we decided to take the cat, who I was calling Miles by then, to my house, TEMPORARILY, make sure she and Ace got along, and schedule an appointment with a vet to see if her limp, her scratches and her hair loss were signs of bigger problems.
Yesterday, Jill Shook, the veterinarian at City Pets on Charles Street, offered a complimentary check-up and pronounced Miles to be a 12-pound, three-to-four year old tabby, missing some teeth, but otherwise in good health. She also pronounced him to be a her.
Miley is spayed, has no microchip and tolerates dogs well. Her limp went away after a couple of days. Her hair, probably scraped off by the nails, is growing back in and her cuts are healing.
While I had my doubts at first — Miley apparently did not relieve herself during her first 24 hours in my home — she does know how to use a litter box. Fearing she might not, Brooke brought over some cat poop from her house (the gift that keeps on giving) to put in the litter box in hopes Miley would get the message. She did.
She’s a tough, independent and affectionate cat and all she needs now is a human. (Miley Cyrus fans are welcome to apply, as is Miley Cyrus). If you’re interested, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, I’d like to say a big thank you to Brooke DiRusso, for caring, and to Dr. Jill Shook at City Pets for the check-up.
In case you missed the original video on Miley, back when she was Miles, here it is again:
(Photos: John Woestendiek / ohmidog!)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 3rd, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abandoned, abused, baltimore, bar cat, bars, cat, cats, city pets, dr. jill shook, female, jill shook, light street, lighthouse, male, miles, miles from nowhere, miley, rescue, rescued, south baltimore, stairway, stairwell, stray, veterinarian
A Brazilian company called Petsmiling — and you’ll understand the smiling part in a second — has created a new toy for dogs: a sex doll.
Complete with a functioning female sex organ, the Doggie Lover Doll, was introduced at a pet expo in South America and will be hitting the market soon.
“I had the idea to make this doll when my Maltese started to grab everybody’s legs. I did some research and couldn’t find anything like it, anywhere in the world. I decided to make it!” said Marco Giroto, owner of the PetSmiling company.
Actually a doggie sex doll was announced in 2007 as a product that was soon to, um, arrive on the marketplace, but a visit to the Scruffy website reveals little information.
The website for the new Doggie Lover Doll is under construction.
To read the company’s full press release — and I understand if you don’t want to — feel free to continue.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 27th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: brazil, doggie lover doll, dogs, doll, female, marco giroto, marketing, novelty, pet, pet expo, petsmiling, products, rubber, scruffy, sex, toy, toys