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Talking to Dogs: Companion Animal-Directed Speech in a Stress Test

By Raffaela Lesch, Kurt Kotrschal, Iris Schöberl, Andrea Beetz, Judith Solomon, W. Tecumseh Fitch

Category Journal Articles

Companion animal-directed speech (CADS) has previously been investigated in comparison to infant-directed speech and adult-directed speech. To investigate the influence of owner caregiving, attachment pattern, and personality on CADS, we used the Ainsworth strange situation procedure. It allowed us to assess voice source parameters of CADS across different contexts. We extracted speech parameters (voicing duration, voice pitch, pitch range, and jitter) from 53 dog owners recorded during the procedure. We found that owner personality and gender but not caregiving/attachment behavior affect their voice’s pitch, range, and jitter during CADS. Further, we found a differential and context-specific modification of pitch and range, consistent with the idea that pitch communicates affect, whereas range is more of an attention-getting device. This differential usage, and the increased pitch, emphasize and support the parallels described between CADS and infant-directed speech. For the first time, we also show the effect of personality on CADS and lay the basis for including jitter as a potentially useful measure in CADS.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2019
Publication Title Animals
Volume 9
Issue 7
Pages 16
Publisher MDPI
DOI 10.3390/ani9070417
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Caregivers
  3. Communication
  4. Human-animal communication
  5. open access
  6. Pets and companion animals
  1. open access