Are There Dog Translators? [Are They Good?]

All dog owners have wished there was such a thing as a translator for their dog. The movie Up brings this concept to life with a collar that translates everything the dog says. But does a dog translator exist in real life? We might not have flying cars yet in the 21st century, but dog translators do exist

There’s no longer a need to guess everything your dog is saying when you can buy dog translator collars, buttons, neural devices, and apps to help you translate what your dog wants to say. 

are there dog translators
Are there dog translators? [Are they good?]

How Can I Translate What My Dog is Saying to Me?

I know that my dog wants to go outside if she shakes her collar or sneezes and that it’s an urgent need if she barks in a certain way. But, I don’t always get it right. Does she want me to follow her? Is Little Timmy down the well? 

We all have our limitations on understanding our dogs. That’s where technology can help.

Here are four types of translators that currently exist for dogs:

1. Dog Translator Collars

BowLingual has been using its dog collar device to translate dog barks into human speech since 2002. Dr. Matsumi Sazuki of the Japan Acoustic Laboratory found that dog barks fall in one of six basic categories. With the help of specialists at Kogure Animal Hospital, he was able to pair dog body language with the barks.

One part of this device attaches to your dog’s collar, while you hold the other part. It compares your dog’s sounds against a database of thousands of pre-recorded dog sounds from more than 80 different dog breeds. 

Your translator will then tell you your dog’s emotions, such as sad, happy, frustrated, on-guard, or needy. It also speaks phrases to tell you things like “Play with me!” or “I want to be with you.”

One of the downsides of BowLingual is that it depends on your dog to bark to be able to tell you what your dog is feeling. If your dog doesn’t bark a lot, it may not be so helpful.

Another downside is that, if you’re looking for BowLingual, it may be difficult to find it anywhere except eBay currently.

woman kissing dog
A woman kissing a black dog.

2. Dog Translator Buttons

Not everything a dog wants to convey to you comes through its bark. Dog translator buttons go a step beyond guessing bark meanings to allow your dog to press buttons with their paws to translate what they want to say to you into English. Since your dog is in control, dog translator buttons are likely to be fairly accurate.

In 2018, Speech-language pathologist Christina Hunger had the idea to use Argumentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices that she used with her pre-linguistic patients to help communicate with her puppy Stella. She taught Stella to “speak” 29 different words as a part of her puppy training.

Christina has also written a book called How Stella Learned to Talk that can give you more insight into how she used her translator buttons to communicate with Stella. 

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03/03/2024 01:02 am GMT

The idea is to train your dog to learn to press specific buttons to communicate what they want to you. You can record phrases onto the buttons that are the most valuable, like “outside, “walk,” and “hungry.” Once your dog has mastered a few phrases, you can buy more buttons to increase your dog’s communication repertoire. 

Christina attached all of Stella’s buttons to a piece of plywood. However, there are also non-skid Dog Button Mats available to attach your buttons.

DaVoice Dog Button Mat (6 Button Placements) for Dog Communication Buttons, Dog Buttons for Communication Board, Dog Speaking Word Training Talking Button Pad (Buttons and Attachments Not Included)
  • 🌟 Includes the "Give Them DaVoice" non-skid dog communication buttons MAT ONLY 🌟 for ease of training; For use with any dog talking buttons for communication (𝗱𝗼𝗴...
  • 🐕 Dog Button Mat has 3" printed circles; Placements for up to 6 dog buttons; Compatible with all button sizes; This water-resistant dog word buttons training mat has professional quality stitching
  • 🐩 Stylish and durable, low profile dog speaking buttons mat to keep your pet buttons organized, and out of the way against the wall; you can easily overlap mats if using more than one set
  • 🐶 Non-skid rubber backing to keep the dog communication buttons with words mat and aac communication board for dogs in place; we recommend attaching your buttons to the mat using hook and loop dots...
  • 🐾 Easily wipes clean without having to move the dog talking button mat, or any of the word buttons for dogs; mat also could be used with buzzers for cats and other applications
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01/21/2024 12:52 pm GMT

The most highly-rated and most popular dog translator buttons on the market are:

  • Hunger for Words Talking Pet Starter Set: This set is the one Christina uses with Stella. It comes in a 4-button set and includes a step-by-step teaching guide. However, it doesn’t include batteries.
Hunger for Words Talking Pet Starter Set - 4 Piece Set Recordable Buttons for Dogs, Talking Dog Buttons, Teach Your Dog to Talk, Talking Pet, Dog Training Games
$29.99 $15.99
  • TEACH your pet to speak like Stella the dog with these recordable buttons for dogs!
  • DEVELOPED by speech therapist Christina Hunger, the creator of the talking dog movement!
  • RECORD simple words like “outside,” “play,” or “bed” with 4 dog communication buttons!
  • DISCOVER insights and tips from the step-by-step teaching guide written by Christina Hunger!
  • LEARN more from the book How Stella Learned to Talk, available now!
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03/03/2024 01:02 am GMT
  • RIBOSY Dog Training Buzzer: It comes in sets of 2, 3, 6, or 8 buttons and includes batteries.
RIBOSY Set of 8, Dog Speech Training Buzzers, Recordable Buttons - Train Your Dog to Voice What They Want (Battery Included)
  • 🎵 【 SET of 8 COLORS, SIMPLE to USE】- The switch on bottom to control "REC" "PLAY" "OFF" mode, you can change the message at any time you want, others has no OFF just REC/PLAY switch.
  • 🎵【UPGRADED QUALITY SPEAKER, SOFTER SPRING】- Built-in quality speaker and softer spring inside button, The volume of the playback is louder and clearer, easier pressing for kids or little pets.
  • 🎵【UPGRADED FUNCTION for DOG TRAINING】- It will play from the beginning even if press mid-message, it means every press get sound out, others 2 press get one sound out.
  • 🎵【THE ULTIMATE COMMUNICATION BUTTON】- Record your own voice to communicate with dog/ cat/ co-workers etc.
  • 🎵【Power by AAA BATTERY】-Each button require 2*AAA batteries, Battery Not Included.
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04/25/2023 06:02 am GMT
  • OFVENS Voice Recording Button: It comes in a 4-pack, and two different color combination choices are available. You can record up to 35 seconds of words. Batteries are not included.
Voice Recording Button, Dog Buttons for Communication Pet Training Buzzer, 20 Second Record & Playback, Funny Gift for Study Office Home 4 Packs (Blue+Pink+Yellow+Purple)
  • 【Clear Recording】The recording button can record up to 30 seconds, and the sound is clear. You can repeat the sound you recorded, or you can re-record it. Small size, easy to carry. Very practical...
  • 【Pet Training Buzzer】You can record commands such as "food", "drink", "outside", "yes" and "no" to let your pet communicate with you; just a little patience can make you understand the pet's mind....
  • 【Fun Gifts】The recordable button is great for Entertain interactions, pranks, desk gadgets, leave a message, send to your friends far away and so on. The most creative birthday/holiday gift,...
  • 【Easy to Use】1.Click the REC button, begin to record voice message after hearing the “beep”; 2. Release the REC button after finishing recording, then you can hear “beep beep”; 3.Click the...
  • 【Low power consumption】 It is powered by two AAA batteries (Not included in the package), low power consumption, long-term to use.
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07/31/2023 10:13 pm GMT
  • ChunHee Dog Speech Training Buttons: This set is available as a one-button potty-training doorbell or as a set of 4 or 6 buttons. It records up to 30 seconds of words. It also includes batteries.
ChunHee Dog Speech Training Buttons Talking Sound Buttons-Recordable Buttons for Dogs-30 Seconds Record Button, Pack of 6 (Battery Included)
  • 🐾【Dog Talking Buttons】Up to 30 seconds of recording time. Use it to send secret messages or leave short reminders, you can change the voice record at any time, and support countless times. The...
  • 🐾【Dog Buttons for Communication】Record phrases such as "outside", "walking", "water", "playing", and train pets to press the button when they want to walk, eat, or drink water. This is...
  • 🐾【Easy to Use】The switch at the bottom of dog speaking buttons can be used to control the "REC" and "PLAY" modes. Swith to REC, press and hold the top button, you can start recording. Swith to...
  • 🐾【Multi-purpose】The recordable button can not only help you train your pet, but also be used as a games interactive buttons and as a language education buttons. It can also be used as a...
  • 🐾【Battery Included】Each recording button comes with 2 batteries, a total of 6 recording buttons (Yellow, Red, Blue, White,Purple,Dark blue), so a total of 12 batteries are given away. To...
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11/29/2023 09:20 am GMT

barking siberian husky
A barking Siberian Husky

3. Dog Neural Translator Devices

Science has now reached a point where it’s possible to decode signals from human brains to help non-verbal people communicate. While this is amazing news for human communication, other scientists are putting science to work to help decode dog neural patterns as well. 

No More Woof uses electroencephalography (EEG), micro-computing, and BCI software to turn animal thought patterns into human language

The simplest version distinguishes between 2-3 emotions like being tired, hungry, and curious. A more advanced version distinguishes between 4+ emotions with more accuracy. Meanwhile, the most complex version is more personalizable and lets your dog speak in short sentences.

Unfortunately, you can’t buy No More Woof yet because it’s still in prototype version 3.2 stage, but it is available for pre-order in three versions that range from $65-$1200. 

However, the fact that they’ve been in development for several years makes me optimistic that the company isn’t willing to release it until they’re confident of its accuracy.

white dog looking up
A white dog sticking out its tongue while looking up.

4. Dog Translator Apps 

Both Android and iOS have several apps available for their phones and other devices that can help translate your dog’s sounds into human words

Different users report varying degrees of satisfaction with the results. Some of the highest-rated ones currently available include the following:

Dog Translator Apps for iOS Devices

  • Human-to-Dog Translator: This app translates dog sounds to help you identify their emotions and lets you talk back to them in dog language with the touch of a button. 
  • Human to Dog Translator Ultra: This app converts your texts inputs into dog language.

Dog Translator Apps for Android Devices

  • Cat & Dog Translator: This app translates from dog to human from human to dog language, including for specific dog breeds.
  • Pet Translator: This app translates dog sounds into human words and allows you to play dog sounds to help you communicate with your dog.

All of these apps are free, but you may have to endure a few ads to use them.

talking with a dog
A man talking with his dog.

Which Dog Translator Should You Try?

The easiest dog translator to try is one of the highest-rated dog translator apps. They’re free, so if they don’t work for your dog, you’re not out any money. However, if you really want to work on understanding your dog, a set of dog translator buttons is your best choice

Unfortunately, the dog translator collar is difficult to find, and the neural translator isn’t available to the public yet, so your choices are a little limited. 

We’re not at the level of using dog speech translators in the same way that we use human speech translators yet, but dog translators can help improve meaningful communication between you and your dog. However, don’t be surprised if your dog wants to tell you 50 times a day that it wants to go outside or go for a walk. 

Happy communicating!