Many people with a dog, cat, hamster, fish, or really any pet, can relate to the tendency of talking to your animal. Telling your pet how much you love them, that they’re a “good boy,” or even about your day can be relatively normal for a lot of pet owners. Humans have the anthropomorphizing habit of conversing with their pets, but it often makes us wonder, why do we talk to animals if they can’t understand?
We asked SERMO physicians – if you have a pet, do you regularly speak to it as if it can fully understand the words you’re saying, as if they might answer you? The majority of SERMO doctors admitted to doing so:
“Of course I do. I think it would be weird if you did not talk to them. They don’t understand the actual words but they do understand tone, body language, inflection, individual elements of the sounds.” – Neurology
“No one understands my troubles like my dog.” – Gastroenterology
“I talk to my dogs in several ways. There is the command language, which they understand quite well. In fact, the big one understands the spoken words as well as sign language and whistle commands. If I say “sit” or hold up my index finger or whistle twice, he sits. Then there are the regular conversations which they don’t really understand for the most part. If I tell them they stink or they are lazy and why don’t they do some vacuuming, then they mostly just look at me funny.” – Neuromusculoskeletal medicine
“I only talk to my dogs in my ‘dog voice’. It’s the voice that says ‘Who”s a good boy? Did you miss me? Yes, you did, didn’t you!!’” – Physical Medicine
“I don’t just talk. I sing to my dogs. I sing musicals, pop songs, made up songs.” – Internal Medicine
“As a psychiatrist, I opine that it’s perfectly fine to talk to your pets. Clinically speaking, the problem is when your pets talk back to you :)” – Psychiatry
“I think I talk to my cat more than to my husband.” – Neurology
“I talk to my dog all the time. Even though I know I’m the back of my head he doesn’t understand me, I find the whole process therapeutic.” – Psychiatry
“I used to think it was silly to talk to an animal as if it was human, but I have found that it’s an extremely hard habit to avoid. I think there’s something just simply natural about it.” – Family Medicine
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