Want to teach your pup to talk? Grab Christina Hunger's book, How Stella Learned to Talk: The Groundbreaking Story of the World's First Talking Dog.
Technically, Stella didn't come out with a book, but it is all about her and owner Christina Hunger. The duo became well known on the Internet in 2019 for videos of Stella communicating with Hunger using communication devices. Her online videos gained many people's attention on social media, and many dog owners wanted to know how they could replicate the method with their own pups.
Stella The Talking Dog
Stella is a Catahoula and Blue Heeler mix. While some dog owners use sign language to train their dogs, Hunger took training a step further. Hunger used the same approach she takes with toddlers with her own dog. Hunger started by telling Stella the different words for her actions, like "walk," "water," and "play play play." Much of her work as a speech therapist set her on the right path for training her dog to "talk."
Hunger used a soundboard with recordable answer buzzers from Learning Resources to start teaching Stella to "talk." Stella's first word was "outside," and she learned it when she was a relatively new puppy, at just three months old. Three-year-old Stella says 48 words and many short phrases. She also is starting to understand the meaning behind words. Since Hunger and her husband just moved from San Diego to Chicago, Stella had never seen snow. She told Hunger there was "water outside." Putting these concepts together shows a great understanding of language development.
Hunger recently worked with the Learning Resources to develop her own set so dog lovers everywhere can buy a pre-done board, and not start from scratch. The Hunger for Words set allows you to record verbal speech for your pet to press. The set also includes a step-by-step guide walking you through teaching your pup to talk.
Another Talking Dog
Stella is not the only talking dog out there, though. During the pandemic, TikTok became very popular. Bunny, the talking dog, rose to fame on the platform, now with five million followers. Bunny's owner, Alexis, got the idea to teach her Sheepadoodle to talk from Hunger. Both women work in speech therapy, so the concept came quickly to Alexis.
The book that came out on May 4, 2021 and is an in-depth look at how the speech-language pathologist used her knowledge of AAC devices that she routinely used with children and put together a practical version to use with Stella.
The new book published by William Morrow is full of information for pet owners who want to teach their pups to communicate with them too! If you want something to listen to, Stella and Christina have been on many podcasts discussing her work. Her work is definitely a breakthrough in interspecies communication.
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