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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

“Such a good puppy, would my baby like a treat?” Phrases like these are heard all the time from loving pet owners. Some people sometimes laugh at this baby talk with dogs and other pets, but wrongly, as research from a US study now shows. With dogs, it has now been found out that they usually like it when you talk to them like babies. 

Why animals like when we talk in high voice?

“Mommy will be right back, my sweet little darling, be good, don’t do anything wrong!” Admittedly, dogs and cats will probably not understand the exact meaning of every spoken word, but they seem to like it when you communicate with them in a similar way. What’s behind it? 

In an edition of the journal “Animal Cognition”, the results of a study on “baby language with dogs” have now been published. The scientists agree: People who spoke to dogs in baby talk were clearly preferred by the dogs.

Above all, a very high pitch is crucial here. High voices seem to be more attractive to dogs and especially to puppies. They pay more attention to their humans and stay near them longer. 

Unfortunately, a well-founded study on cats has not yet been carried out, but you can assume that it is similar with them. Some cat owners will probably nod their heads in affirmation at this point. 

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Strengthening the human-animal relationship

It is also interesting to question why we humans seem to instinctively communicate with our furry friends in this way. This is where, among other things, the so-called infant schema comes into play:

Certain instinctive mechanisms are activated at the sight of a baby. The big googly eyes, the pronounced bulging of the forehead and the clumsy, awkward movements seem to attract people (especially women). Various hormones are released that trigger feelings of happiness in us, as well as the need to nurture and care for the little creature. 

Automatically, we humans begin to speak to the baby in a sweet, high-pitched voice. This is therefore an absolutely natural behaviour, primarily to teach a human baby to speak. Since puppies and co (but also adult animals) also exhibit this infantile schema, the same mechanisms are activated in us. 

Communicating with animals in baby language is pointless from the point of view of human language development, but most of our dogs and cats like it anyway. Probably because we are an important social partner for them and they appreciate our attention. It also strengthens the relationship between humans and their beloved pets. So it’s a win-win situation 😊.

Language in training

If you want something specific from your pet, however, you should avoid long sentences. It is difficult for our pets to filter out the essentials from all our chatter. This often leads to communication misunderstandings.

High-pitched voices are helpful when you want to motivate your pet. On the other hand, a low, calm voice is more appropriate when you want to calm your pet down or keep him from getting more excited.  

Remember that your pet needs a lot of rest. Constantly talking at your pet can often lead to him not paying attention to you in important situations, as you become background noise. 

Young beautiful woman sitting on the floor smiling and playing with cat.


Talking to dogs and cats in baby talk is a natural behaviour, as it is where the infantile schema comes into play. Most animals like it and are attracted to our cute voice. Your speech has an impact on your pet in everyday life, so pay attention to how your pet behaves with different vocal tones.