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How to Teach Your Dog to “Talk” Using Buttons

Do you feel frustrated not knowing what your pup is trying to tell you when they’re whimpering? Confused by barking or scratching that may signal different requests? What if your doggo could actually express their needs with the simple press of a button? Believe it or not, this is how dog owners have been training their dogs to ‘talk’.


What is talk training?

Talk training eliminates the guesswork by enabling confident communication between you and your pet! That’s right. Through a mix of Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC) devices and operant conditioning learning techniques, your best friend can be taught to associate words/actions with the correct buttons.  The key is lots of repetition, patience, and rewards!

How do I get started?

You can start by downloading our free training worksheets, available on our website! These how-to-guides will lead you through the learning process one step at a time, including how to substitute equipment (if necessary), what type of language and voice commands to use, and how to successfully track your pet’s progress. For example, it is very important to praise your doggo when they press a button without being prompted by saying, “You want to go Outside? Okay, let’s go outside!” 

Does it matter what dog I have?

While the breed of the pup is not a specific factor in talk training, it is crucial to realize that all dogs are different and may benefit from different approaches. For example, if you have a more lethargic pet, you might want to proceed at a more relaxed pace. Personal strengths and preferred learning styles also play a significant role in teaching your pup to talk.

How long does it take?

Just like their owners, all dogs are unique and have different preferred learning styles and strengths. Some pups can press buttons in a matter of days. Others will take longer to master this skill. It’s very important to never rush or force the process on our friends. Patience and repeated exposure to the buttons and rewards/actions are vital to success. Remember, Einstein never spoke until the age of five, and your little genius will also learn according to their own schedule.