There Stella’s ways to communicate with your four-legged companions. But have you ever looked at your dog, wondering what does it really think? Or what is it trying to say?
A dog owner who also happened to be a speech-language pathologist has an adorable 18-month-old dog named Stella. She has been examining what dogs really try to say and has learned that her pooch can literally tell her things, including when she would like to go for a walk, play, eat or even take a nap.
Stella’s owner, Christina Hunger, created a brilliant adaptive device that helps Stella communicate with her through feelings too. For instance, when the doggo wants to “talk” she can step on buttons corresponding with words that Christina recorded and programmed into the device.
Stella loves the device and is happy to practice her language skills. When she was whining the other day at the front door, Hunger assumed she wanted to go outside, but then Stella approached her device and pressed, “Want”, “Jake”, “Come” and went back to the door. A few minutes later, Hunger’s fiancé, Jake, was back home, and Stella went to the device and tapped “Happy.”
Hunger is shocked by the way Stella expresses her feelings through the device. She says that Stella puts together knew word combinations everyday, which make whole new phrases with new meanings.
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Stella uses language differently when she’s in a heightened state versus when she’s calm! • Today when she heard some noises outside and wanted to go investigate, I told her we were staying inside. • Stella responded by saying, “Look” 9 TIMES IN A ROW, then “Come outside.” She was clearly in a more frantic state, and her language use matched that. We all sound differently than normal when we’re in distress, Stella included! • I’m impressed that Stella is communicating with language during her more heightened states, not just when she’s calm and in a quiet space. This shows me that words are becoming more automatic for her to use. It’s similar to when a toddler starts using language to express himself during times of frustration instead of only crying. That happens when it’s easy for the toddler to say words, not when he’s still learning and it takes a lot of focus to talk 🧠🗣 • • • • • #hunger4words #stellathetalkingdog #slpsofinstagram #speechtherapy #AAC #ashaigers #slp #corewords #SLPeeps #slp2be #earlyintervention #languagedevelopment #dogsofinstagram #dogmom #doglife #dogs #guarddog #animalpsychology #doglover #dogvideos #sandiegodog #catahoula #blueheeler #smartdog #dogcommunication #mydogtalks #animalcommunication #interspeciescommunication #loveanimals
Hunger works in San Diego with one and two-year-old kids who use adaptive devices too and learn how to practice their language skills.
The sweet canine started to learn words when she was eight weeks old and now knows at least 29 words! One of her most impressive skills is her ability to combine up to five words to make a sentence or phrase.
Hunger documents Stella’s progress on her Instagram account and on her blog, Hunger For Words. She says that the way she uses words to communicate is similar to a 2-year-old child.
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Last night, right before this video was taken, I accidentally said “ball” on Stella’s device while I was actually reaching for a different word. But, Stella took this very seriously! She picked up her ball, dropped it on her device, and said “Good” (Translation: Good idea, Mom!) • I started recording right after she said “Good” and caught the rest of her thought: “Happy ball want outside!” • Like all AAC users, Stella thrives when we talk to her using her device and say words that she loves. She never needs to know it was on accident! 😉 • • • • • #hunger4words #stellathetalkingdog #slpsofinstagram #speechtherapy #AAC #ashaigers #slp #corewords #SLPeeps #slp2be #aacawarenessmonth #earlyintervention #languagedevelopment #dogsofinstagram #dogmom #doglife #dogs #animalpsychology #doglover #dogvideos #sandiegodog #catahoula #blueheeler #smartdog #dogcommunication #mydogtalks #animalcommunication #interspeciescommunication #loveanimals
Stella’s mom loves exploring what Stella feels, and she loves speaking her mind too. The first time Stella learned to communicate the word “walk” she was over the moon and couldn’t stop using it.
One of her favorite words is “beach” she loves tapping it, hoping she will be lucky enough to have her wish come true.
Hunger says that the device has deepened their bond, and they now get each other better.