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  • Who's a good girl?

  • You are! Yes, you are!

  • Yes, you are! Yes, you are!

  • Um... do you even know what I'm saying?

  • If you're one of the millions of dog owners who talk to man's best friend like this, you're not alone.

  • But how effective is it?

  • Do you want to have a real conversation with your dog?

  • Well, here's how to do it, "according to science".

  • At times, you might feel silly or a little embarrassed to talk to your dog in a high-pitched, baby-like voice.

  • But don't be!

  • Talking to your pets as if they're human is a sign of high intelligence.

  • It's known as "anthropomorphizing", which is when you consider something that isn't human to have human characteristics.

  • So, although talking to your Golden Retriever like a baby might make you feel stupid, you're really smart!

  • And even if we wanted to stop talking this way, it'd be pretty difficult, and here's why.

  • A 2017 study asked 30 women to record their voice while reading phrases you might say to a dog, like, "Hi, cutie, who's a good boy?"

  • The women recorded the phrases while looking at pictures of dogs and humans.

  • When they looked at a pictures of humans, their voice was normal, but as they looked at pictures of dogs and puppies, their voice got higher-pitched and more baby-like.

  • Talking to dogs like this is natural for us, and it's not because we're so overwhelmed with their cuteness that we just can't help it.

  • Well, there might be a little bit of that.

  • But it's also because talking to them like this is the best way for them to understand us.

  • Dogs are incredibly attentive animals.

  • Notice how whenever you talk to your dog, they look at you as if they're listening.

  • You typically don't get that with your cat, guinea pig, or any other house pet.

  • Amazingly enough, even monkeys, the animals most similar to humans, won't look at you when you speak.

  • Oh, and when dogs tilt their heads and perk up their ears when you're talking to them?

  • That's not just for looks; it's them trying to understand what you're saying.

  • Wait, I'm anthropomorphizing there; why would a dog do anything "for looks"?

  • Now, just because they're trying to understand what you're saying, [it] doesn't necessarily mean that they're interested in discussing the current political climate or what happened between you and Jean at work.

  • A 2018 study out of Emory University found that dogs are most likely listening and responding to us in hopes of making us happy.

  • Or in hopes of getting some food.

  • But that doesn't mean they don't understand or don't have their own language that they like to be spoken to in.

  • A study from the University of York in England learned that talking to your dog with dog-directed speech and dog-related words is the best way to speak to them.

  • In other words, asking your dog, "Hey, boy, wanna go for a walk?" is much more appealing to them than saying, "I picked up groceries."

  • Here's the thing, though, you can't just trick them and talk about picking up groceries in a high-pitched tone and then expect your dog to get all excited.

  • The study concluded that you have to use both dog speech and dog-related words for it to work.

  • Although it may seem obvious, the study found that talking like this is the best way to get your dog to listen to you.

  • What's less obvious is that talking this way creates a stronger bond between you and your pet.

  • So, if you're someone who talks to your dog as if you're talking to a baby, you're doing it right!

  • And if you don't, you should probably start.

  • Another tip for all you dog owners out there: listen to your dog.

  • The length, strength, and pitch of your dog's barking can tell you so many things about your little buddy, and help the two of you communicate better.

  • We'll see you next time on another "according to science".

Who's a good girl?

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