All over the world, dogs and cats are learning to speak with special recordable voice buttons, enhancing the special relationships we share with our pets.
In one household in Belgium, Sophia the dog and Billy the cat have proven to be excellent learners. Their human, Josepha, has documented both their journeys on YouTube in a series of vlogs.
Never Too Old For New Tricks
One interesting thing to note of the pair is that they've only just begun training with voice buttons, as adults. Sophia, a Malinois mix, is four years old, while Billy, a Bengal mix, is eight. They began positive reinforcement training at the same time, braving the animal AAC journey together. And they're coming along nicely!
How It Started
In the beginning, there was certainly interest and curiosity around the buttons. However, they hadn't quite yet developed the habit of using them. Nonetheless, both Sophia and Billy can be seen pressing the talking buttons independently, even in the first vlog. It's a long process of positive reinforcement, teaching them that the buttons mean something and urging them to take interest in them.
Talking Buttons: Making Progress
In combination with other skills, Josepha continues to reinforce the buttons with treats. Sophia being a bit further along than Billy, Josepha looks to her for extra assistance.
Talking Cat Buttons: Billy's progress
Billy's continued interest in the button is paying off for him. Now he can communicate his needs and wants! The next hurdle to get over is then getting him to understand the meaning—not just the association.
Talking Dog Buttons: Sophia's Progress
Sophia's starting to really get the hang of it!
The Daily Life of the Talking Fur Kids
After some time, patience, and a whole lot of love, Josepha has successfully trained both Sophia and Billy to press a button for "kiss," "eat," and "outside."
Sophia can be seen combining multiple words from her dog soundboard to form her own sort of sentences.
Just wait until they're talking to each other! We might just see a world ruled by dogs and cats one day.
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