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Stir-crazy pet owners are trying to teach their dogs to TALK

A growing trend has seen pet owners who are stuck at home in the pandemic attempting to teach their dogs to speak using buttons with pre-recorded phrases. 

Although the method is not new, it appears to be rapidly growing in popularity as dog owners attempt to relieve boredom and better understand their beloved furry friends.

Kaili Smalley, 27, told the Wall Street Journal that it took 18 days to get her eight-year-old German Shepherd to communicate after the New York University grad student decamped to her family home in Idaho to ride out the pandemic.

'It's boosted morale in my household,' she told the newspaper, saying her dog Gracie just can't stop 'talking' using the peculiar method.

Stephanie Rocha, 51, of Atlanta posted video showing her Border-Aussie, Casper, pressing buttons to say, 'Eleanor! No! Help! Mad!'

Stephanie Rocha, 51, of Atlanta posted video showing her Border-Aussie, Casper, pressing buttons to say, 'Eleanor! No! Help! Mad!'

Stephanie Rocha, 51, of Atlanta posted video showing her Border-Aussie, Casper, pressing buttons to say, 'Eleanor! No! Help! Mad!' after her daughter Eleanor did not take the dog out for a ride as promised because of rain

Among the pioneers of the use of buttons to help dogs speak is speech-language pathologist Christina Hunger, who last year captivated pet owners with videos of her dog Stella using buttons to communicate.

Hunger told the Today Show last month that she became interested in teaching Stella to talk after she noticed that Stella's eye contact, vocalizations and gestures were similar to the ones kids use before they can communicate verbally. 

Stella is now able to use 40 different words, and Hunger is writing a book to help other dog lovers learn the method.

A Facebook group inspired by Hunger's work with Stella, called Hunger For Words Fan Experiments, now has more than 2,400 members, with more joining every day. 

'It's really exciting,' Hunger told Today of other pet owners attempting the method. 

'This is the reason that I started sharing Stella's progress, and the reason that I'm writing a book is so that other dogs can learn and other dog owners can learn how to teach their dogs.' 

Speech-language pathologist Christina Hunger last year captivated pet owners with videos of her dog Stella using buttons to communicate.

Stella has been taught 40 words so far

Speech-language pathologist Christina Hunger last year captivated pet owners with videos of her dog Stella using buttons to communicate.

Stella is now able to use 40 different words, and Hunger is writing a book to help other dog lovers learn the method

Stella is now able to use 40 different words, and Hunger

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