There’s a certain voice that pet owners use when they are talking to their pets. It’s a little goofier, and has a higher pitch, than their regular voice; the best kinds of pet owners may sometimes also slip into a made-up song about their pet. At Barnard College’s Dog Cognition Lab, two researchers are studying the way that dog owners speak to and play with their dogs, reports Elizabeth Preston at Discover. Their hope, Preston reports, is that their work may help add to the growing scientific literature on human-canine interaction, which in turn could help scientists learn more about how dogs can be used as service or support animals.
For one recent study, published in the journal Animal Cognition, these researchers – Alexandra Horowitz and Julie Hecht – analyzed 187 videos of people playing with their dogs. These people were from 19 different countries, and they were as young as 8 and as old as 75. Among the funnier outcomes of their analysis was the researchers’ ranking of the top 35 words people used when playing with their dogs. Here’s a sampling: You. Good. Gonna. Yay! Whatcha. C’mon. Here. Ready. Boy. Girl. Gimme.
And here’s the full list:
Coincidentally, I am currently compiling a list of the top words people say to their cats; here is what I have so far: Stop. No. What? Why? Weird.