Stop Talking to Your Dog in a Baby Voice

According to research, when your dog is grown, he doesn't give a sh*t.
IMAGE Esquire

If you claim you've never said "Who's a good boy?!" in the highest pitch voice humanly possible, you've either never owned a dog or you're a straight-up liar. But it turns out that if your dog is full-grown, he doesn't care for that shit at all.

While we stop using the baby voice on humans after they've grown out of their diapers, many of us keep on using it no matter how old our dogs get. However, according to a new study, we should really stop once our dogs grow out of puppyhood. Gizmodo reports that in a study that's been accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, puppies respond to baby talk, but full-grown dogs are apathetic to your cooing.

Acoustic communication specialist at Jean Monnet University Nicolas Mathevon and his team played recordings of "dog-directed speech" (your baby talk, in other words) through high-quality speakers to over 40 dogs of various breeds and ages. Mathevon acquired the recordings by asking subjects to say typical dog phrases like "What a good boy!" while looking at pictures of dogs of various ages.

The researchers found that people tend to use dog-directed speech to dogs of all ages, although pitch tends to be slightly higher when communicating with puppies (because they're just so damn cute). Puppies reacted to this manner of speech strongly and more animatedly than to normal speech, but older dogs didn't react any differently to either manner and tended to ignore the speaker.

Mathevon told Gizmodo that the study says more about human behavior than about dogs:


"I think that we are directing a human behavior at dogs. Our study suggests that we use this kind of speech pattern to engage interaction with a non-speaking listener. This study does not tell muca bout dogs, but more about human behavior. It underlines that we try to adapt the way we speak to our listener—or to what we think our listener is able to understand."

So there you have it: Dogs can understand what you say and don't give a shit about your baby voice. Man's best friend indeed.

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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