Frequently Asked Questions

How did you teach Stella to talk? / How can I learn to do this with my dog?

I used language facilitation strategies to teach Stella words in a similar way to how I teach young children to talk as a speech-language pathologist. I have a book coming out May 4th (pre-order it here) where you’ll be able to learn more about Stella’s journey, and what strategies you can use at home with your dog. If you pre-order my book, you will also get an exclusive video from me to help you teach your dog to talk. You can also take a look at the “Your Dog is Ready to Talk” and the “Getting Started” sections and follow @hunger4words on Instagram where I share information about speech therapy and Stella’s progress.

Where can I buy the buttons?

We started with “Recordable Answer Buzzers” from Learning Resources. You can purchase them on Amazon by clicking here.

How does Stella remember where all her words are?

Stella develops a motor plan for each word, the same way in which we all develop muscle memory when we type on a keyboard or use our phones. With time and practice, the locations of each word become automatic.

Where did you get your new board with black buttons?

We created the new, custom-made board by modifying the original Learning Resources buttons in order to have a smaller, more convenient setup for us.

What words should I start with?

The first words I introduced to Stella were “outside”, “play”, “water”, and “walk.” Beginning words should be highly motivating and frequently occurring for your dog to learn best.

How long will it take for my dog to learn?

Just like humans, every dog is different. Progress is not always immediate, and is dependent on a variety of  factors. My advice is to have patience,  give your dog time and attention, and believe in their potential!

Can my small dog press these buttons?

Yes! With time and practice, I’ve seen puppies as small as five pounds activate the buttons. It is important to get your dog comfortable around the buttons, and give them as much encouragement as possible!

What kind of dog is Stella? / Is her breed special?

Stella is a Catahoula / Australian Cattle Dog mix. While cattle dogs are known to be an intelligent breed, many different dog breeds are learning to talk, not just Stella’s breed.

Can cats or other animals learn to talk too?

I can’t wait to find out! As of now, I only have experience working with humans and dogs. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. In fact, there are people trying my methods with many different kinds of animals, which is very exciting to see!