A dog by the name of Stella has learned to form phrases and make requests from a set of 29 words she has learned so far on a sound board made by a speech pathologist named Christina Hunger. The range of Stella’s communication has astounded Hunger. According to People Magazine:
A speech-language pathologist with an 18-month-old dog is working to find out, and she’s already discovered that her dog Stella can literally tell her things — like she’s tired after playing and now would like a nap, or that instead of playing at this moment she would prefer to eat, and that she would like to go outside, specifically to the park.People.com
Hunger was able to facilitate this communication by building a custom sound board for Stella. As of right now, Stella knows about 29 words and can use them to form phrases. What can she say? She can ask to go outside or offer other suggestions if she does not want to do what she is being asked to do. She may ask to go to the park, to eat first or that she is tired of playing.
In one case, Stella was pacing by the door back and forth, as if she wanted to go outside. When Stella took her over to her device, she punched out “Want” “Jake” “Come” and then waited by the door until Hunger’s fiance, Jake, came home.
According to Hunger, Stella has about the communication capacity of a 2 year old human. She started with the word “walk” and can now express most of the things in her life experience in some form.
Enjoy these clips of Stella talking!
In this clip, Stella realizes a button is not working the way she expects and asks for help:
In this clip, Stella hit a wrong button and Christina Hunger asked her which thing she wanted to do, and she answers with a complete sentence.