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Publisher's Summary

An incredible, revolutionary true story and surprisingly simple guide to teaching your dog to talk from speech-language pathologist Christina Hunger, who has taught her dog, Stella, to communicate using simple paw-sized buttons associated with different words.

When speech-language pathologist Christina Hunger first came home with her puppy, Stella, it didn't take long for her to start drawing connections between her job and her new pet. During the day, she worked with toddlers with significant delays in language development and used augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices to help them communicate. At night, she wondered: if dogs can understand words we say to them, shouldn't they be able to say words to us? Can dogs use AAC to communicate with humans?

Christina decided to put her theory to the test with Stella and started using a paw-sized button programmed with her voice to say the word 'outside' when clicked, whenever she took Stella out of the house. A few years later, Stella now has a bank of more than 30 word buttons and uses them daily either individually or together to create near-complete sentences.

How Stella Learned to Talk is part memoir and part how-to guide. It chronicles the journey Christina and Stella have taken together, from the day they met, to the day Stella spoke her first word and the other breakthroughs they've had since. It also reveals the techniques Christina used to teach Stella, broken down into simple stages and actionable steps any dog owner can use to start communicating with their pets.

Filled with conversations that Stella and Christina have had, as well as the attention to developmental detail that only a speech-language pathologist could know, How Stella Learned to Talk will be the indispensable dog book for the new decade.

©2021 Christina Hunger (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-06-21

An empowering read for all communicators.

Whether you have a dog or not, this book is an essential read to help you understand the very foundations of communication. Everyone deserves to be heard, especially if they don't have a voice to start with.

If I ever get a dog again, I will almost certainly be following Hunger's model.

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  • l
  • 04-25-22

More about author's self-pride than dog training

The book seems to focus on portraying its author as a selfless, noble pioneer, and consequently is more about the author than dogs or dog training.

I was surprised by the extent to which the author seems to underestimate the intelligence of dogs, and I was also surprised by the extent to which she overestimates her achievements. This book is more about the author than teaching your dog how to use buttons. Though to be fair, from what I’ve gleaned, it would seem that teaching a dog to use buttons would require no more than common sense, at least for those of us who already manage to communicate well with our dogs without the use of buttons.

The author’s character is very unlikeable: she bought her puppy in a car park after seeing an ad in Craigslist, she makes lengthy excuses in an attempt to justify this unethical choice, and I found her character to be smug, self-righteous, shallow and egotistical.

Also, as another reviewer mentioned, it concerned me that the author saw the need to set up a button for her dog to inform her of whenever her water bowl was empty. I never let my dog's water bowl go empty and neither should anyone else, not even for the sake of training them to use voice buttons!

This is by far the worst book I've ever read.

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  • teresa-may whittaker
  • 01-04-22

Fascinating and Inspiring in equal measures!

Being owned by 5 very vocal Husky X dogs this book really resonated with me - like the author, I’m also a SLT, so totally appreciate the power of AAC devices and how to use them effectively (brilliantly explained in the book for those that aren’t familiar with them).
The book has a lovely balance between the author sharing her inspiring journey and factual (and motivational) information to help others to try an AAC device with their canine companions.
One of my pups has canine autism, so I’m really interested to put into practice what I’ve learnt from the book to better understand his wants and needs/manage his frustrations more proactively.
The buttons arrive tomorrow!

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  • Sarah Louise
  • 11-19-21

A must for every dog owner/animal lover

If you ever wished you could talk to your dog, this book is for you! 🐶

This amazing true story provides a fascinating insight into a dog's understanding and potential to communicate given the right support and opportunity.

I've been following Stella and Christina Hunger (Hunger for Words) on IG (@hunger4words) for a while now so it was only a matter of time before I bought Christina's book.

The story is told brilliantly and the narration is excellent (so good that I binged it in 2 days!).

Needless to say, I'll be ordering some recordable buttons next! 😁

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-02-21

Yavenne

Amazing story about how open minded approach can change everything. Specialist approach translated into a very approachable read.