A Speech Pathologist Trained Her Dog To Communicate With A Sound Board

A typical command to dogs is to say, "Speak!" The canine responds with a bark and receives a treat. One special dog does more than bark. She has a way to "speak" real words in English!

No, the dog named Stella doesn't understand nor pronounce the English language. She "speaks" in the same way a parrot would, but with a little help. Stella cheats by using a soundboard.

Soundboard notwithstanding, Stella's abilities reflect far more significant accomplishments than any parrot could dream of achieving. Stella doesn't merely repeat words through the use of a soundboard. She tries to convey wants in the same way she would by barking, whimpering, or standing on two legs. The soundboard is a big step up from typical doggie behavior. Dogs are supposed to experience limitations in how they communicate. Then again, most dogs do not live with a brilliant speech pathologist.


Christina Hunger did more than toss a frisbee to Stella. Christina developed an adaptive soundboard designed to help her pet communicate needs. Stella doesn't merely repeat words through the use of a sound.

Dogs are living creatures. They get hungry, sick, tired, and deal with issues of concern to their owners. The adaptive soundboard could do a nice job of helping Christina know how to best care for Stella.

There isn't much complexity in how the process works. Stella communicates by tapping her paws on the soundboard. The soundboard then handles the speaking duties on Stella's behalf.

Where did Christina come up with the idea for a canine soundboard? She is a fan of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), and also works with 1- and 2-year-olds. Christina applied some techniques for dealing with children when teaching Stella. The enthusiastic canine picked up on some basic ways to use the soundboard, which is a phenomenal achievement.

The story of Stella and her soundboard might stun your friends. People don't expect little dogs to learn how to use cool new tech devices. Tell everyone you know about Stella, and let them see animals are always full of surprises.