A dog who feels bonded to you is more likely to listen to you and to want to please you. Think about your boss at work. Aren’t you more eager to work hard when they treat you well and praise you for work well done?
Previous studies showed that puppies responded more to baby-talk, just like human infants, but adult dogs did not. We all know baby talk when we hear it. Our voice goes to a higher pitch; we change the tone so that it rises and falls, and our facial expressions become more exaggerated.
A new study published in the journal Animal Cognition now provides evidence that adult dogs also prefer baby talk.
The researchers came up with 3 possible hypotheses for why dogs prefer baby talk:
1. For many mammal species, high-pitched tones are associated with forming groups and submission.
2. As dogs have been domesticated over the years, dogs have grown to feel safer with humans who speak in high-pitched tones.
3. We often used high-pitched voices when we are doing positive things with our dog, like playing and offering treats.
The temptation might be to always talk to our dogs in baby talk, with the thought that our bond with them will grow even stronger and they’ll respond to our commands more readily. Too much baby talk, however, may result to your dog becoming so habituated to the sound that it no longer has the desired effect. So reserve the baby talk for things like playing or training.