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The 7 Best Dog Talking Buttons to Enrich Communication

Enrichment By April Reid 15 min read April 10, 2023

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talking dog buttons

We’ve all dreamed of being able to talk to our canine pals and understand exactly what they’re thinking. Luckily, dog talking buttons can now make that a reality!

These nifty tools give your pup a way to share his wants and needs, allowing for richer communication. 

Below, we’ll explain what dog talking buttons are, how they work, and also share some of the best dog talking buttons on the market. We’ll also cover how to teach your pup to properly use them!

The Best Dog Talking Buttons: Canine Communication!

Expand your furry friend’s vocab with these dog talking buttons. Each is best suited to certain pups, needs, and budgets, so we’ll help you pick the best option below.

1. Hunger for Words Talking Pet Starter Set

Best Starter Dog Talking Buttons
Hunger for Words Talking Pet Starter Set

A dog talking button set that has everything you need to get started.

Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy

About: Everyone’s familiar with Scooby-Doo, one of the first ever fictional talking dogs. But not everyone knows the spunky pitbull mix Stella, the world’s first real talking dog!

Stella’s pup parent — speech language pathologist Christina Hunger — realized her potential and combined the fields of animal psychology, speech therapy, and AAC devices (dog talking buttons) to let her express her barks and gruffs in human form.

The result was a success: Stella now knows more than 50 words and can even string complete sentences together!

The Hunger for Words Starter Set was designed by Christina Hunger herself, so it’s sure to help your doggo communicate – maybe even  as well as Stella! The kit features four recordable speech buttons, each unique in color, and includes a step-by-step teaching guide. 

The buttons are 3.5 inch in diameter and don’t require a lot of pressure, so dogs of all sizes will find them easy to press. This particular set even comes with a dedicated, slip-resistant mat (sold separately), which will protect your floorboards from scratches while ensuring the buttons keep in place. 

Features:

  • Four colorful, recordable speech buttons 
  • 3.5 inches in diameter; convenient size for most breeds
  • Created by the pup parent of the world’s first speaking dog 
  • Compatible with a slip-resistant mat 

Pros

  • Buttons are colorful and appropriate in size, weight, and shape for most breeds
  • Backed by speech language pathologist Christina Hunger 
  • Comes with a handy teaching guide to get you started

Cons

  • Only four buttons included; so, it’s not ideal for pup owners looking to expand vocabulary even further

2. MyDogTalks Talking Button Set

Best Mid-Level Dog Talking Buttons
MyDogTalks Talking Button Set

A 12-button-set, containing user-recordable buttons, foam mats, and more than 20 vocabulary icon stickers. 

Buy on Amazon

About: The MyDogTalks Talking Button Set is a popular pick for pup owners looking to take communication to the next level. It comes packed with 12 nifty recordable buttons, three foam mats to keep the buttons in position, and more than 20 vocabulary icon stickers. 

This set is particularly great for visual clarity and keeping things organized — the foam mats have distinct designs, allowing you to sort the word buttons into categories (like people, objects, and events), and the icon stickers make it easy to quickly identify exactly which button your doggo has used. The vocab stickers are durable and don’t peel off easily. 

The buttons are easy to use and relatively sturdy, and their small, compact size also makes them well-suited to the likes of Chihuahuas and Pomeranians. Plus, the audio is clear and loud enough to distinguish even in noisy environments. 

Features:

  • 12 recordable buttons included
  • Three non-slip foam mats, each with a unique design 
  • More than 20 vocabulary icon stickers  
  • Small, compact size 

Pros

  • Great visual clarity, plus easy to keep things organized
  • Buttons are compact and sensitive enough for small paws to press
  • Audio is clear and loud

Cons

  • Buttons are positioned quite close together, so big doggos may find them difficult to press accurately 

3. FluentPet They Can Talk Kit

Best Advanced Dog Talking Buttons
FluentPet They Can Talk Kit

A premium talking button set specifically designed for brainy dogs that are constantly outsmarting their owners. 

Buy on Amazon

About: If your doggo constantly outsmarts you, he’ll definitely appreciate a set that can match up to his intelligence, like this FluentPet Premium Set.

FluentPet is the top-dog and original producer of talking buttons, and there’s are likely the highest quality around. Fluent Pet also does a lot of scientific research to back up their promise of improved dog communication, as FluentPet’s founder Leo Trottier also is the founder of They Can Talk — a collaborative, community-generated project where people document their experiences teaching animals how to communicate using sound boards.

Oh, and did we mention these are the buttons Bunny the Dog (a famous TikTok pup) uses?

The set comes packed with more than 30 recordable sound buttons, enabling your pup to learn how to articulate his every need, whether he’s hungry, bored, or after some quality bonding time.

The set also comes with ideogram stickers, a step-by-step training guide, and 10 HexTile mats, each unique in color to allow for easy categorization.

What makes this dog talking button set particularly great though is that it comes with a free app that lets you track your pup’s interactions with the buttons. It logs what he pressed, when he pressed them, and also any sentences he formed. The tool makes it super easy to understand exactly what your dog wants to say and also gives you an in-depth overview of his progress.

Features:

  • 32 recordable buttons, with each one being 1.9 inches in diameter 
  • A dedicated app to track your pup’s progress 
  • Includes various ideogram stickers 
  • 10 HexTile mats for slip-resistance and categorization 

Pros

  • App makes training and understanding your pup’s words a whole lot easier
  • Great for dogs that have already mastered communicating with 10 buttons 
  • Straightforward to set up and use 

Cons

  • Several users reported muffled audio quality

4. Color Voice Recording Dog Buttons

Most Affordable Dog Talking Buttons
Color Voice Recording Dog Buttons

A budget-friendly talking dog button set featuring four differently colored, recordable buttons. 

Buy on Amazon

About: We all dream that our pup is going to be talking up a storm in no time. But in reality, not every pooch is fit for human vocabulary. Some dogs simply can’t get their paws around the concept of buttons, others refuse to see the buttons as anything other than chew toys, and some just can’t tolerate the noise they make.

That’s what makes the Color Voice Recording Buttons Set so great: It lets you find out if your dog is actually going to benefit from these devices before you invest in anything pricier. 

The set comes with four different-colored buttons, each one allowing you to record up to a 30-second message. They’re also portable and compact in size. The buttons are easy to press and have a diameter of 3.4 inches, so they’re suitable for large and small breeds alike. Plus, the recording switch is located underneath each button, keeping it safely out of reach from prying paws.

Features:

  • 4 buttons, each with a diameter of 3.4 inches 
  • Able to record up to a 30-second message
  • 4 different colors, including orange, rose, blue, and red
  • Compact, portable size 

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Suitable for large and small breeds alike
  • Pet-safe design; recording switch is located underneath the buttons 

Cons

  • Some pup owners reported that the batteries often slip out of place

5. PETOPIX Dog Talking Button Set

Cutest Looking Dog Talking Buttons
PETOPIX Dog Talking Button Set

An adorable dog talking button set that comes in three stylish colors.

Buy on Amazon

About: After a set of talking dog buttons that’s just as cute as your pooch? Then you’ll definitely want to get your paws on the PETOPIX Talking Dog Buttons! These buttons sport an adorable doggo face while the mat is colorful and decorated with cute pawprints. 

This set also comes in three different colors — pink, yellow, and green — each specially selected with a dog’s vision in mind. The colors used are also incredibly vibrant, making the set easy to see from a distance. 

But this dog talking button set isn’t all looks and no substance: The included four buttons are easy to press, boast clear audio, and are durable enough to withstand teeth and claws. The mat is also slip-resistant and spaces the buttons out generously, which helps to minimize misclicks (or “mispaws!”).

This set conveniently comes with everything you need to set it up, including batteries, a screwdriver, 20 button stickers, and a handy guide.

Features:

  • Three different color options: pink, yellow, and green 
  • Comes with everything you need to set it up 
  • 20 button stickers for additional customization 
  • Includes training guide 

Pros

  • Looks totally adorable; great for gifting
  • Patented pad design helps prevent misclicks 
  • US-based company 

Cons

  • The audio is fairly quiet

6. VocalPups Dog Talking Button

Best Single Dog Talking Button
VocalPups Dog Talking Button

A single dog talking button fitted with a pre-recorded word of choice.

Buy on Amazon

About: The VocalPups Dog Button is an ideal option for pup owners that just want to teach their pooch a particular word or phrase, whether that is “I love you,” “mom,” or “treat!” The button comes with a pre-recorded word (with many options to choose from) and is durable enough to withstand even a heavy-footed Great Dane. 

The sound is also clear and audible from a distance, further facilitating four-footer communication. 

Despite its simplicity, this button has been designed with extra care, with non-slip rubber feet and a pet-safe battery compartment. It’s also easy to press for breeds of all sizes. 

Features:

  • A single prerecorded button that comes in various designs
  • Comes with useful video lessons to aid training 
  • Non-slip rubber feet 
  • Pet-safe battery compartment 

Pros

  • Durable material 
  • Pet-safe design 
  • Pre-recorded audio ensure good sound quality and saves you the hassle of making the audio yourself

Cons

  • Limited pre-recorded word options

7. VocalPups Pre-Recorded Dog Talking Button Set

Best Pre-Recorded Dog Talking Buttons
VocalPups Pre-Recorded Dog Talking Button Set

A dog talking button set that conveniently comes with pre-recorded audio.

Buy on Amazon

About: Don’t want the hassle of figuring out how to make your own recordings sound clear and audible? Then you’ll definitely appreciate the VocalPups Pre-Recorded Talking Button Set, which comes with pre-recorded sounds. 

There are two set versions, each featuring video guides to help with the training process, and four buttons that are different in color and audio. The first version includes “out,” “play,” “food,” and “water,” while the second version includes “toy,” “done,” “walk” and “help.” 

This set is also produced by the brand that manufactures the single-dog talking buttons described above. So, you can expect the buttons to have the same features, including durable materials, slip-resistant rubber feet, and a pet-safe battery compartment.

Features:

  • Four pre-recorded buttons; “out,” “play,” “food,” and “water” in starter pack 1, “toy,” “done,” “walk,” and “help” in starter pack 2
  • Comes with training video guides
  • Pet-safe battery compartment
  • Slip-resistant rubber feet

Pros

  • Pet-safe design 
  • Pre-recorded audio for convenience 
  • Durable material can withstand strong paws 

Cons

  • Some pup owners found that the audio, while clear, was too loud 

How Do Dog Talking Buttons Work?

Dog talking buttons are based on alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) devices, which non-verbal people use to communicate in everyday life.

They’re essentially small, circular devices that play recorded audio sounds when pressed. Typically, the audio sound is a recorded word like “play,” “walk,” or “come.”

With proper training, dogs can be taught to communicate using these buttons, which will help to enrich your pet’s entire life!

For example, your pup can learn to press the “eat” button when he feels hungry and wants a treat or early dinner. Some dog talking buttons have pre-recorded audio sounds in them, like the VocalPups buttons, though others let you record the messages yourself. 

What Should You Look for in Dog Talking Buttons? 

buttons to let dogs talk

Aside from durability and clear audio quality, there’s a few more things you’ll want to consider when buying dog talking buttons.

Appropriate Size for Your Dog’s Paws

Buttons that are too large can be difficult to press, while buttons that are too small can cause your pup to fumble and misclick constantly.

As a rough guideline, stick to buttons with a diameter under 2 inches if your dog is a small breed. Sturdy, large dogs will fare better with a diameter above 3 inches.

Compatibility with a Mat 

helping dogs communicate

Whether your dog uses his nose or paws to press the buttons, chances are, he’s going to move about constantly.

Investing in a button set that comes with a mat (or is compatible with one) will help keep them securely in place, and it’ll also protect your floorboards from potential scratches. 

Keeping the buttons in the same spot is also crucial for the training process; your dog needs to memorize the location of the buttons to know which one to press when communicating.

Adjustable Volume

Some dog talking buttons, especially those on the pricey side, allow you to adjust the volume to your desired level.

This feature is incredibly convenient, as it lets you turn up the sound if there’s plenty of background noise, or dial it down in quiet environments. 

There is another way to “adjust” the volume if your buttons don’t have this feature though; when recording your voice, move further away from the mic and speak quietly if you want a low-level sound, or move closer and speak loudly if you want a strong sound. 

Custom Recordings

Buttons that let you record your own audio are our personal favorites — your dog is more likely to engage and respond positively to the buttons if he recognizes your voice. 

Keep in mind though that buttons with custom recordings take time to set up and are sometimes plagued by muffled audio quality. So, if you’re after something loud and easy, opt for pre-recorded audio instead. 

How Do You Train Your Dog to Use Talking Buttons?

Training your dog to use talking buttons is pretty simple, though you’ll need to work with him and be patient. 

First you’ll want to consider what words your pooch is already familiar with — does he prick his ears up at “park,” or does his tail go into wagging overdrive when you whisper “play”?

Once you’ve identified a few words your dog appears to recognize, you’ll then want to teach him to communicate these words using buttons.

Encourage your dog to interact with the buttons. Every time he presses a button, immediately follow it up with the relevant action — if he hits the “play” button, go and get a toy and start playing with him. 

You should also press the buttons yourself while communicating with your pup. For example, if you say the word “park” in conversation, hit the button at the same time. 

Incorporate the keywords in conversations clearly, regularly, and in an enthusiastic manner. Also keep to simple sentences, such as “let’s go to the park!”

Lather, rinse, and repeat frequently, and your pooch should be a little canine chatterbox in no time!

Dog Talking Buttons: Tips & Tricks 

Here are a few more tips and tricks that’ll help the training process go smoothly.

  • Make sure the buttons are distinguishable for your dog; unique stickers, different colors, and consistent placement can all help with this. 
  • Most sets come with a starter guide to help you with the training process. Make sure to read this thoroughly before beginning any training. 
  • Don’t reward your dog with treats when he presses a button (unless it’s specifically a “treat” button!). Doing so will only teach your dog that pressing the buttons rewards him with yummy treats. It certainly won’t teach him the specific meaning of the buttons and their words. 
  • Start with one to two buttons, and gradually introduce more as your dog becomes familiar with them. Adding too many at once can overwhelm your pup and make it harder for him to learn.
Additional Canine Communication Resources

Want to learn more about the ways dogs communicate? We’ve got you covered!

Check out some of these articles to learn more:

The Best Dog Talking Buttons: FAQ 

Dog talking buttons are a relatively new concept, and not many pup owners are familiar with them. Below, we’ll answer some common questions and explain a little more about these handy communication devices. 

Which talking dog buttons are best?

This will ultimately depend on your individual needs, budget, and canine companion. The Hunger for Words button set is an ideal starter pack for most, as it accommodates a range of breed sizes and has everything you need to get started. It’s also not too pricey, despite the amount of value it offers. However, if you want to expand your dog’s vocabulary as much as possible, a set like the FluentPet kit will be a much better option. 

Are talk buttons good for dogs?

Yes, talk buttons are generally good for dogs because they provide them a whole new way to communicate their needs. This will allow you to better understand your pup while strengthening family bonds. 

Talking buttons aren’t suitable for all dogs though; some may be sensitive to the noises, and others may only see the buttons as chew toys!

Are dog talk buttons worth it?

Dog talking buttons are definitely worth it in our opinion. However, you might want to start off with a single-talking button, like the VocalPups dog talking button, to make sure your dog is comfortable with the noise, experience, and training process. 

What buttons should I teach my dog first?

Stick to vocabulary that is simple and easy for your dog to understand. It’s also a good idea to start with words your dog is already familiar with, such as “food,” “eat,” and “walk,” as this will help the training process go smoothly. Avoid recording complicated sentences or words that are easy to mix up or sound similar to other words.   

Can dogs actually talk with buttons?

Dog talking buttons are designed to function as AAC devices. Currently, there isn’t enough scientific research into this to determine whether dogs truly have an ability to understand our language in this form. However, while dog talking buttons don’t necessarily teach your dog to understand language, they can teach him to use human language. 

Dogs excel at making associations, and with proper training, you can teach him to press buttons that correspond to specific activities, like “outside,” “play,” or “hungry.”

   

So, that’s a wrap of our top dog talking button picks! We’ve made sure to include picks that cater to a whole range of needs and doggos, so hopefully you’ve found the perfect option for your pooch.  

Have you tried using dog talking buttons with your canine? How did you find experience? Let us know in the comments down below. Feel free to share other dog talking button sets that you feel are worth a mention too!

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Written by

April Reid

April is a freelance content writer who specializes in animal care. She has owned several pets over the years, and before she began sharing care guides, training tips, and pet product reviews with the online realm, she was a marketing assistant for Portobello Pup — dog care apparel company. Her role involved interacting with a range of lovable breeds, including puli dogs and chow chows. She has also helped run a stall at the international dog show Crufts. In her spare time, you’ll either find her playing tug of war with her pooch, binge-watching animal-themed movies, or birdwatching in the Brecon Beacons.

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