Dogs have their own, special language. However, Bunny The Dog is proving canines understand everyday human language by saying it, literally, in her own words.
When my puppy needs to go outside, she barks like the world is ending, nibbles my toes, runs for the door, grabs my shoe; Basically, causes as big a scene as possible. Dog owners, I'm sure you're with me on this -- It takes time to learn how our dogs communicate with us, and everyone of them is different. Some bark, some use those big eyes, others find creative ways to hide before sneakily pooping behind a house plant.
If evolution taught us anything, it's that great things take time. The next phase is already here, and Bunny The Dog is taking the internet by storm as she, day after day, showcases her ability to talk to her owners.
Owner Alexis Devine began training Bunny, a gorgeous sheepadoodle, how to speak using a series of buttons from the time Bunny was a puppy; She was inspired by Christina Hunger, a speech-language pathologist, who taught her dog Stella the same tactics. Bunny's buttons are arranged on a soundboard called an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device. Each has a picture corresponding to the command, and Bunny, who was about 16 months old as of December 2020, understands and uses more than 70 different words to articulate what she wants and is thinking.
Meet Bunny The Talking Dog
Bunny's social media popularity exploded on TikTok, where the @what_about_bunny account has over five million followers, more than 100 million video likes, and a library of Bunny saying everything from "Where's Dad?" to "Help! Friend, Play." Bunny boggles minds by having an awareness of time, pointing out when "Water Bird" flies onto the family's back deck, and even asking things like "Mom, Poops, Where?"
Maybe her most popular video, with over 23 million views, proves how valuable this communication really is -- In it, Bunny tells her mom that she's "Mad" because there is an "Ouch" in her "Paw," which reveals a Foxtail stuck between her toes!
Then, there are the wholesome ones. (Honestly, they're all wholesome.)
Here's Bunny reminding her mom that she loves her, once again proving that we don't deserve dogs.
Is Bunny The Dog Actually Talking?
How is this possible? Is Bunny really learning and articulating what she wants? Or, has she learned a set of commands based strictly on her owner's response to them?
For a group of researchers at the Comparative Cognition Lab at the University of California, San Diego, the answer is that they really don't know.
Led by director Federico Rossano, the group took inspiration from Bunny to launch a research study of more than 700 animal participants. They're attempting to figure out exactly what is happening in this incredible phenomenon.
"Rossano says the videos of Bunny are interesting, "but we need to be very careful about what we think is going on. There's a lot of risk about making bold claims." He wants to gather as much data as possible, and until experiments determine how much humans influence their companions' actions, he won't be drawing any hard conclusions about Bunny's capacity for language"
-- H/T, The Verge
No offense Rosie, but Bunny talks. I won't let skeptics convince me otherwise.
Oh yeah, and Bunny is facing her own existential crisis and becoming self-aware, pressing each button to ask "Who This, Go See" and looking directly into a nearby mirror.
Honestly, Bunny, I do the exact the same thing.
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