Dog who’s learning to talk using custom keyboard already knows 29 words

If you’re a pet owner then obviously you speak to them (how else will Max know he’s a good boy?). But don’t you wish they could talk back to you?

One lucky dog owner Christina Hunger, 26, can say her canine pal does, in fact, communicate with her. That’s because Christina, a speech-language pathologist, has given her doggo Stella a customised keyboard which allows her to press what she wants to say. Stella, an 18-month-old Catahoula/Blue Heeler mix, has been learning to communicate her thoughts and feelings since she was eight weeks old.
Christina, from San Diego, created the device herself. All Stella has to do is press on the button with the word she wants to express.
Dog pictured with customised keyboard enabling her to communicate
This dog is learning to communicate using this customised keyboard (Picture: @hunger4words

Not only can Stella say when she’s hungry, wants to go for a walk, or just wants a belly rub, Stella has been able to form sentences.

To date, she knows 29 words. Her most remarkable progress came when Stella was able to convey that she missed Christina’s fiancé Jake.

The clever doggo typed ‘want’, ‘Jake’ and ‘come’ and when he arrived a short while later, Stella pressed ‘happy’.

The routine of caring for a pet can bring structure and purpose to daily life. Maybe you don’t always want to get out of bed, but your pet wants you to. Isn’t that a good thing?

That’s one smart dog.

 Christina Hunger who devised the keyboard pictured holding Stella outside
Christina is a speech-language pathologist and normally works with children (Picture: @hunger4words)

Christina uses a similar device as part of her job teaching one and two-year-old children. She began teaching Stella in her infancy too.

Now Stella can combine up to five words to form a sentence.

‘I’m in constant amazement and shock,’ Christina told People. ‘Every day she says something cooler than she said the day before.

‘The way she uses words to communicate and the words she’s combining is really similar to a two-year-old child.’

Dog learning to talk.
She now knows 29 words (Picture: @hunger4words)
Christina has been documenting Stella’s learning journey on her blog Hunger for Words.

The pair now excitedly chat with each other as much as they can. Stella is also delighted to be able to chat with her human. When she first learned what the ‘walk’ button does, Stella repeatedly pressed on it.

‘I didn’t realise how much she was waiting to say it,’ added Christina.

Dog learning to talk
Stella, now 18 months, has been learning since she was eight weeks old (Picture: @hunger4words)

‘She also loves saying “beach”. She was so happy and still says it very often.

‘I think how important dogs are to their humans,’ notes Christina. ‘I just imagine how much deeper the bond will be’.

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: The red-eared slider is one of the most popular pet turtles in the United States. They grow to be a foot long and can live for up to 20 years.

You can follow Stella’s progress on the blog Hunger for Words.

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