Forget about commands like “roll over” and “play dead”—this genius dog has learned to communicate with his owners using a sound board with 45 different English phrases.
The clever sheepadoodle named Bunny was recently filmed using the sound board to say things like “play,” “scritches,” and even “I love you, Mom.”
Bunny was introduced to the specially-made communication pad as soon as he was adopted by his owner, Alexis Devine, back in September 2019.
Devine built her own canine sound board after being inspired by speech language pathologist Christina Hunger and her dog Stella. In addition to Hunger being renowned for using augmentative and alternative linguistic resources to help nonverbal people communicate, she was also one of the first people to use the sound boards with dogs.
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“The first sound board that we used was one that I had made after following Christina’s guidance on her blog,” said Devine. “We used that for several months before I connected with Leo Trottier, who is a cognitive scientist. He was looking for beta testers of a new device and that is the board we are currently using with Bunny.”
The first word that the 11-month-old pup learned to use on the sound board was “outside”—but he can now ask Devine about specific destinations thanks to buttons that play words like “beach” and “park.”
Bunny has even learned to talk about the family’s pet cat Spooky by pressing multiple buttons for “Play, Spooky.”
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“The sound board has been an overwhelmingly positive experience,” said Devine, who is an artist from Tacoma, Washington. “Bunny and I work on engagement, tricks and obedience to strengthen our bond daily, but this has added so much laughter, joy and wonder to our lives.
“Bunny currently has 45 words on her board with 5 of them being new enough that we are still helping her to understand them contextually,” she added. “It’s always an adventure, and we are thoroughly enjoying the ride regardless of the destination.”
(WATCH the video below)
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