Speech-Language Pathologist Teaches Her Dog to Communicate Through a Custom Button Talking Board

Speech-Language pathologist Christina Hunger who works a great deal with children, has developed an ingenious way to teach her dog Stella, an adorable Catahoula/Blue Heeler mix, to communicate with her. Hunger feels that animals have quite a bit to say to their humans, but don’t really have a way to do so.

With this in mind, Hunger first developed communication buttons for Stella to push and placed them in strategic places around their San Diego home. The very clever canine responded almost immediately and began retaining the information in such a way as to form complete sentences by walking room to room. Hunger then put all of the buttons onto a single board, which allows Stella to communicate her thoughts in one place.

Stella’s current communication device consists of a board with three rows of five buttons on top. The buttons always stay in the same location on the board. Consistent button location allows Stella to learn faster and not search for words every time she talks. Similar to how we know where keys on a keyboard are without having to search for each one as we type, Stella memorizes where each button is…The buttons are arranged to allow enough room for Stella to walk in between the rows. Since she cannot easily reach all of the buttons from one location, I think it’s important for her to be able to walk along the board.

This ingenious talking board is quite portable, so it goes wherever Stella goes.

We bring her device with us into different rooms and to different locations when we travel. Just like everyone, Stella deserves access to her words wherever she is.