Sarah Terry
January 13, 2017 5:55 pm
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When you see the adorable face of a puppy, it’s nearly impossible not to talk to it in a cutesy voice. We all want to squeal about those totally sweet eyes. Luckily, a new study suggests that puppies love baby talk, so just keep on cooing at those cuties.

The study had women read dog-directed phrases like, “Who’s a good boy?” and “Hello cutie!” into a recorder while looking at a picture of a puppy. Overall, the researchers found that the women used a higher-pitched, sing-song voice. The women also recorded the phrases while they looked at a picture of a human, and for that, the women used a more normal voice.

The researchers played the sing-song voice to a group of puppies, and they went crazy.

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According to the study, the puppies barked, ran toward the speaker, and crouched down as if they were ready to play. When they heard the women reading in a more “normal” tone (aka, the tone they used to talk to other humans), they weren’t as affected. The study couldn’t definitively prove why the puppies respond better to the high-pitched, song-like speech. Their best theory is two-fold. First, they think that puppies are innately responsive to higher-pitched tones, because other dogs also use those kinds of tones to communicate. Secondly, they think that responding to baby talk from humans has been learned, because humans tend to select dogs that respond to them.

So if you love talk baby talk to your puppy, go for it, because they love it!

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However, if you have an older pooch, baby talk won’t necessarily be as intriguing.

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When the women’s high-pitched voices played over the loudspeaker, the older dogs just continued chewing their bones. And the researchers were actually quite surprised: They now believe that maybe more mature dogs are just less responsive to humans in general. Plus, older dogs usually know their owner’s voice and react most strongly to that.

But if you happen to encounter a laundry basket full of puppies, you now know exactly how to talk to them!