Every animal lover does it.
When you see a furry creature that makes you feel warm inside, you can't help but change how you speak to them. You don't address your adorable animal friend in same tone you talk to your boss. Unless, of course, your pet is your boss, in which case you've got more than just communication issues to worry about.
In fact, there's an actual speech pattern shift that researchers noticed in humans when speaking to their pets. But you probably already knew that. Your voice gets higher more playful, as if you were talking to a (human) baby. And while it's an adorably effective way of letting everyone around you know you've got a soft spot for four-legged friends, it's an ineffective way of communicating with your pet.
According to a new study published by the biological journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, grown up dogs don't care at all about your baby talk.
The researchers recorded several sound cues in both normal human language and in that oh-so-sweet-voice you (and lots of other people) save for your precious fur baby. They then played the recording back to dogs of all different ages to see how they'd respond.
To be fair, some dogs did respond to the special voice you save for it. They're the best kind of dogs – puppies.
In fact, listening to the different vocal tones was really important for puppies to pick up on behavioral cues. So when they hear you talk in happy baby voice talk to them, they know they're being good. They also know you're speaking directly to them, which they may not have picked up in normal tones yet.
But researchers found that grown and older dogs were not any more reactive to sound cues when they were wrapped in high-pitched, cutesy-wootsy packaging.
What changing your tone may do actually change the way you say what you're saying. It cues you to be more expressive, be clearer, and gesticulate more. All of these cues are exactly what you'd do for any non-speaking listener. Basically, your grown up dog will still listen to you. You can just, literally, take it down a notch when you're talking to them.