You finally know what your dog is saying via buttons with a loudspeaker | Tech

If you’re curious about what your beloved dog has to say, you can now purchase buttons that he can “talk” with. But is this a good idea?

Dog Bunny is a hit on TikTok. The @whataboutbunny account shows videos of this sheepadoodle forming sentences using over 60 different buttons. With this the dog says, for example, if he is in pain, after which he even seems to say where that pain is. Of course there is also a button that lets Bunny know that he needs to poop.

Bunny has 8 million followers on TikTok and videos are viewed hundreds of thousands of times. The dog is also the face of the FluentPet company, which sells these buttons, but FluentPet is no longer unique in that regard. For example, Bol.com and Amazon can be found dozens of similar buttons.

With a speaker

These buttons largely amount to the same thing. The owner records a word, such as “external” or “candy”, via the microphone in the button. If the button is then pressed, that word will sound through a speaker.

The idea is that the dog will create connections between action and reaction. If the dog presses the candy button several times and receives a treat each time, the pet knows from now on that that button, the word and a treat are connected. For example, you can also create a button to go out or scratch behind the ear. With sufficient training, more and more complex connections can be established.

“Animals feel a lot of the same emotions we do,” said Leo Trottier, CEO of FluentPet. Although animals may not speak like we do, they have complex inner thoughts and feelings. The tools can allow us to understand them better ”.


Citation

Although animals don’t talk like we do, they have complex inner thoughts and feelings

Leo Trottier, CEO of FluentPet


‘A little scary and dangerous’

Not everyone is equally enthusiastic about these buttons. Dog behavior expert Amee de Bruijn calls it “unnatural”. With his company Stressless Dogs, De Bruijn focuses on solving problems between humans and dogs.

,, I have nothing against it, but what I find much more interesting is watching the communication of the dog itself. He already has a very beautiful language. By observing you can see very well what a dog feels and wants ”.

De Bruijn primarily sees buttons as teaching. ,, It can be a very nice addition and there’s really nothing wrong with it. A dog wants to make a connection with you and maybe he really likes to do it through such a game. It is a form of brain work and a dog can definitely benefit from it. But I think it’s a bit scary and dangerous if it replaces natural communication. “

Notifications via app

Trottier thinks the system helps people observe their dog’s language better: “Buttons actually teach us to stop what we’re doing, to pay attention and to be patient. The more we train with this, the easier it becomes to understand a dog’s communication cues. With or without buttons.

Early next year, FluentPet will release a new version of the buttons, including a smartphone app. Audio recordings can then be made via the smartphone’s microphone. The owner also receives a notification when the dog presses a button. Essentially, this gives your dog the opportunity to text you throughout the day. If you should want it is another question.


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