Dogs are incredible companions, and everyone who lives with one will tell you that even if they don’t use words, they ‘talk’ to us in so many other ways. They’ll wag their tails in excitement, celebrate by jumping up and down, and when they want to catch your attention, they vocalize using barks. But while pups come in all fuzzy sizes and personalities, it is safe to say that they can’t talk the way we do. Or can they?
Until recently, most pet owners were content with the fact that their pets could not use human speech to communicate, but that was before pet buttons were invented. Yes, you heard that right! Dogs can now communicate their needs and wants by pressing buttons with pre-recorded sounds or words. By just pressing a button, you’ll know whether your pup wants to go ‘outside’ or is in dire need of the ever-satisfying ‘belly scritch.’
What Are These Dog Talking Buttons?
As the name suggests, dog-talking buttons are literally buttons that, when pressed, give out a specific sound or voice. The dog talking button is an innovation created by speech therapist Christina Hunger who, through personal experience with her dog, realized that pets could communicate what they want
The dog talking button works by allowing a pet owner to record a simple phrase or sound that the dog can then learn to use whenever they need to express themselves. Essentially, after some training, dogs can communicate whatever they want: to go ‘outside’ or have the inevitable need to ‘potty’ on their own. For pet owners, buttons are the next step in human-pet relationships because you won’t need to wonder what they’re thinking. They can simply press a button, you’ll know, “Huh, that’s it!”
Should You Use Dog Talking Buttons For Training?
If you’ve been watching popular trends over the last few decades, you’ll admit that we’ve made a lot of leaps as a society. Just a few decades ago, humans used the mail to communicate, but now, we can send text messages and attend classes taught by scholars millions of miles away in real time. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before we figured out how to use all our technology to talk to our pets.
While humans have been living with canines for millennia, it’s not so farfetched to imagine that we’ve all wished that we could know what our loyal pups were thinking. “Are you hungry? What vendetta do you have against squirrels? Do you love me?” If you’re like us, then you’ll be excited to know that there’s a tool that pets can use to open up and express themselves.
Dog talking buttons are a new and fun way that makes it possible for well-trained dogs to say whatever they need by simply pressing a big red button. Dog talking buttons can help you train your dog around a schedule, improve your connection, and learn more about each other. When you use them, you might be surprised that your cheeky pup is also a fast learner who has been wondering why you never understand her perfectly articulated barks.
How Do You Train Your Dog to Talk With Buttons?
Every novel invention is exciting, and there’s no doubt that the pet talking button is a must-have for all pet owners right now. However, as with every new appliance at home, you’ll have to train your dog to utilize it effectively. Of course, all pets have different capabilities, and while some might be fast learners, training might take a bit longer for others.
To avoid common mistakes when training your dogs, you need to understand all the best practices that can ensure they get talking sooner rather than later. We’ve summarized the best strategies you can follow when training your dog to talk with the buttons.
1. Choose Simple Buttons
Once a new product hits the market, it usually gets picked up by all manufacturers, and before you know it, there are thousands of brands available. A mistake that pet owners can make is to rush and purchase the flashiest buttons on the store shelves. When you’re buying a dog talking button, choose simple buttons because it’s not about how it looks but how well it works.
Before buying a dog talking button, check out brands that prioritize functionality, build quality, and non-toxic materials. The best buttons are simple rather than complex because cognitive scientists took care and attention to ensure that they were durable and economical in the long term. Also, because the buttons use software to record words, the best options might be customizable, as these might help you build on what your dog has already learned.
2. Create a Positive Association
If you’re on social media, you might have noticed that famous dogs are already using talking buttons to express themselves. Some dogs can even form full sentences with few, if any, errors, proving that we might soon start having enriching conversations with canines. But we’re not there yet.
Once you choose talking buttons your pet will love, focus on creating a positive association. Know that your pup needs to relate to the buttons as an enjoyable experience that makes them even better companions. Don’t watch videos of other pets online, and assume that your pup can do the same overnight.
Focus on making talking buttons a good experience for your pets, and if they’re not responding well to the cues, be patient. Avoid being too reliant on them because this might harm the relationship you’ve been carefully building with your pet friend.
3. Target the Buttons
Pet owners and scientists working on buttons that train dogs to talk note that we’re still learning how they will work with dogs. Some dogs have been fast adopters, but for others, the reaction has been lukewarm, requiring extensive phases of training. As you train your dog, focus on the buttons and ensure that your pup understands how they relate to speech.
A pup can start by associating the buttons with a new play experience, and you have to give them time to figure it out. They might start by pressing the words they’re already familiar with, and sometimes, they might not be in the mood to press buttons. Take your time with the buttons, associating each button with a specific word or action. You can even label them to avoid erroneous setbacks because, while buttons can help pets talk, they can also use visual cues to differentiate them.
For example, if you focus your attention on particular buttons, such as the notorious ‘Love you’, your pup might press it more than other options. Remember that they’re still smart animals that might see specific buttons as the fastest way to gain your attention. So, as you play around with buttons, target them to build an association with particular sounds or voices to make it easier for them to learn.
Are The Buttons Worth It?
If you’re still on the fence about whether dog-talking buttons are worth it, it’s understandable. You’ve built a great relationship with your loyal pup, and you don’t see any reason to change your relationship. Yet, if you avoid dog talking buttons, you might be limiting yourself from an experience that might change your pet and family’s relationships.
Pet owners using dog talking buttons find great utility in their ability to expand the ways that pets can communicate with them. For these pet owners, buttons are evidence that when you teach animals new signals, you can be surprised by what you learn. You might get insight into a pet’s personality and even become surprised when they ask things you don’t expect.
So, on the question of whether dog-talking buttons are worth it, the folks at Fi feel that there’s no harm in trying them out. They have the power to expand your dog’s current vocabulary, and with positive association, training, and time, your dog might know dozens of new words. All these are great benefits that can turn your home into a great place to be because, as they say, communication is the key to all relationships.
Talking To Your Dog — For Real
Dog talking buttons are an incredible invention that can set up your pet for success. Those considering starting to train their dogs need to remember that when choosing an option, look at the budget and select those that come with good training buttons. Always know that as you get used to the buttons, your only thought should be spending time experimenting with what works best for you and your pet.
In the end, always know that dogs have special and unique talents, and take a cue from how your dog reacts. Just like all humans, learning is different for everyone and when introducing new things, practice patience and balance. When we all do this, especially through dog talking buttons, we can be surprised by what we discover about pets. They might know more than we give them credit for.
At Fi, we feel that talking to your dog-for real is a great thing, and there's no harm in technology that can make this possible. In a world where pet care options always improve the lives of our dear animals, there's no reason why we should hesitate to take action. From experience, we all know that our pups learn a lot from the many hours we spend with them, and they can learn more, provided we dedicate quality time and effort. Dog talking buttons can be the next global fad for pet lovers, but let’s not forget that their main goal is to improve our close bonds.
You can check out our example of trying to get our favorite Fi Office dog using the buttons here:
For more helpful articles about pet-parenting tips, check out the Off Leash blog at TryFi.com.
Want to know more about TryFi.com? The Fi Dog Collar is a GPS tracking collar that not only keeps track of your dog’s location, activity levels, and sleep patterns, but it also alerts you if your dog escapes your backyard. This is the fastest way to find your dog after an escape. Try the Fi Dog Collar today!