Talking to pets may sound silly for people who don’t live with an animal at home, but it’s actually quite a common occurrence within pet-loving households.
Sure, the conversation may mostly be one-sided, but the activity still offers advantages that both pet owners and pets can benefit from.
If you’re one of those who are still skeptical about engaging a dog in casual conversation, here are five good reasons that may finally convince you to do so.
#1 More than just words
For starters, talking is only a small part of the communication process. Sure, your dog can’t answer back or fully understand what you’re saying (especially if you’re discussing calculus) but they can still figure out your mood or what you mean through your tone of voice and body language.
Likewise, you could learn to do the same and pick up on non-verbal cues to help you better understand your pup and how they’re feeling at a given time. As you do it more often, both you and your dog can slowly learn to read each other’s facial expressions and mannerisms, leading to better communication.
#2 Learning by repetition
Being quite the skilled linguists, dogs have the ability to understand human vocabulary better than we think. A good example is a Border Collie named Chaser, who was dubbed as the ‘smartest dog in the world.’ Together with his owner, Doctor John W. Pilley, Chaser took the world by storm after successfully learning to understand over 1,000 words.
While not all dog owners have the time or patience to teach their pet as many words, you can always stick to the most useful ones like ‘treat,’ ‘stay,’ ‘sit,’ or ‘bath.’ Using these words over and over in training or play will eventually teach your dog to associate them to the things or actions they pertain to.
#3 Good for your health
Sometimes, people just need a listening ear to vent out their feelings or thoughts. Dogs can be the perfect ‘conversation’ partner for instances like this. Being a nonjudgmental audience, talking out loud with a dog about problems can help a person figure out issues and work on finding a solution.
In fact, according to Psychology Today, mental health professionals who are proponents of animal-assisted therapy believe that talking to dogs can be like talking with a therapist or a sympathetic family member.
#4 Point of interest
And as it turns out, having one-on-ones with a dog doesn’t only benefit you, but them as well. While dogs may not understand all the things their owners are saying to them, there’s reportedly scientific proof that they still enjoy listening to your voice because of its familiarity to their canine ears.
According to a University of York study, dogs are more ‘interested’ in a conversation when they hear ‘dog-relevant words’ leading them to actively listen to the speaker. In simpler words, they’re more engaged when they think that the conversation is somewhat related to them.
#5 Bonding experience
Getting used to hearing your voice can also facilitate the creation of a bond between you and your pet. To do so, you can occasionally engage your dog by talking to them while you’re doing other things whether you’re exercising or just lounging around and instantly turn those moments into bonding experiences.