Pet Tech
Animals

Your dog can now send text messages with these 'talking' buttons

What would your dog text you?
By Cecily Mauran  on 
a photo of the new tiles from fluentpet in various colors
Credit: FluentPet

If your dog could text you, what would they say?

This week coinciding with CES, FluentPet, the maker of those viral talking buttons all over TikTok, launched FluentPet Connect, a new version of its button system, now equipped with WiFi and data capturing. The FluentPet Connect app automatically captures when a dog presses a button allowing owners to track their progress and get messages in real time.

Teaching your dog to use the FluentPet system — hexagonal tiles or "HexTiles" with buttons that are customized to say different words like "outside" or "play" when pressed — is all about patience, repetition, and close observation, according to the experiences of many in the community forum started by FluentPet. Now users don't have to worry about missing a hard-earned milestone when they're out.

"When people are in another room, they can get a text message from their dog [saying], 'I really need to go outside right now' you probably want to come get me," said Leo Trottier, CEO of FluentPet. 

The new version was influenced by a motivation to capture what some claim are remarkable discoveries happening as dogs learn to communicate verbally with their humans. An example of these animals using sound buttons to communicate with their humans was told to Trottier by Alexis Devine, who has 7.2 million followers on TikTok for her videos of Bunny, the famous talking dog. "Alexis was totally perplexed because Bunny was saying 'sound walk' or 'sound tug.'" But Bunny didn’t seem interested in playing tug o’ war or going for a walk, but kept insistently pressing the buttons for "sound" and "walk" and "sound" and "tug." 

"It occurred to us, well maybe 'sound walk' is Bunny pressing buttons and 'sound tug' is kind of like a conversation between Alexis and Bunny." 

Alexis Devine and Bunny are part of a 5,000-person study that gathers and reports data to FluentPet on a biweekly basis. But now, if users of the new version choose to opt in, their data can be automatically gathered and reported. Inspired by Christina Hunger’s work, the goal of the study is to research how dogs (and cats) can learn to express themselves using such devices. 

Does this mean humans finally discovered a way to talk to animals? "I mean, people should be skeptical. Alexis [Devine] is skeptical. I'm skeptical. There are lots of times when Bunny does things that don't make any sense at all," said Trottier.

With any experiment, however, that’s to be expected, says Trottier. Just watching one of Bunny’s videos shows the deliberate intent behind each communication. He’s not just pushing buttons at random. 

But not everyone is convinced. "You stand a much better chance of teaching people to speak dog than you do to teach dogs to speak human," Dr. Clive Wynne, founding director of the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University Wynne told Mashable in November.

In addition to WiFi connectivity, the new FluentPet Connect tiles also have improved sound quality, are more durable, and are more customizable for fitting the individual needs of each dog. 

The FluentPet Connect Base HexTile ($69.95) and Expansion HexTiles ($49.95) can be reserved here and will begin shipping Spring 2022.

This post was originally published in January 2022.

Related Video: Move over, Boston Dynamics. You can build your own tiny robo-dog now.

More in Animals, CES


Recommended For You




Koalas are endangered now, and climate change is a big reason why
A young female koala sitting on a eucalyptus branch.

Project 'Silo Living' transforms old grain silos into micro homes
A woman standing under a tiny home converted from a grain silo

More in Life

How to avoid paying $139 for Amazon Prime
person typing and holding a credit card

New Zealand bans conversion therapy in 'a win for humanity'
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at Auckland's Pride Parade 2018, with other parade-goers, holding a rainbow flag.


Activists demand accountability on the anniversary of the Parkland shooting
A black and white image of a group of people wearing winter coats. They are holding up signs that read, "How many more?"

The only recipe you need for air fryer chicken wings
wings with airfryday logo

Trending on Mashable

The biggest stories of the day delivered to your inbox.
By signing up to the Mashable newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from Mashable that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.
Thanks for signing up. See you at your inbox!