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Functions of Repetitive Talk to Dogs during Play: Control, Conversation, or Planning?

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This study describes people's repetitive talk when playing with dogs and explores three hypotheses about that talk. Each of 23 people played with two dogs (one familiar, one unfamiliar). Videorecorded participants spoke about 208 words per interaction. Of all words used, eight accounted for more than 50%. Phrases most frequently used and repeated were "come on" and "come here. " In decreasing order of frequency, sentences ranged from imperatives to attention-getting devices, declaratives about the dogs, and questions. Additional declaratives and talk for the dog rarely occurred. Data support the conclusion that repetitive talk to dogs during play has some conversational aspects, but mostly attempts to control the dog. Little evidence exists for "on-line" planning in talk to dogs.



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