Would you be embarrassed if your boss, or perhaps your clients, heard the way you speak to your 'fur babies'? *cringe* I'm referring to that high-pitched, over excited Alvin and the Chipmunks style voice - you know the one... What if I told you that your adult dogs pay no heed whatsoever to this 'technique'?
A study carried out by scientists based in France, the UK and the US, and published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B has shown that whilst puppies may react to this sing-song voice, adult dogs are less than impressed.
Thirty female human participants were asked to speak in front of various pictures of dogs - thirty puppies (up to a year old), thirty adult dogs (one to eight years of age) and thirty pictures of older dogs (over eight years of age); their speech pattern and cadence was then analysed. It was found that on the whole the humans used dog-directed speech with all the dogs, regardless of age, however they generally used a higher pitch voice when communicating with puppies.
The same participants recorded identical spoken phrases using both 'puppy-talk' and their normal voices. These were then played to the dogs, without any other stimuli to affect results. It was discovered that whilst puppies were highly reactive to 'puppy-talk' and the higher pitched cadence did indeed affect their behaviour, the same could not be said for older dogs. Dogs over a year of age displayed no difference in behaviour when exposed to either a high pitched, sing-song voice or an ordinary tone.
In short, feel free to get all excited and chipmunk-esque with your youngsters, they'll love it; however once puberty hits, as with most human teenagers, if they could roll their eyes at you, they would!