Its owner, Nuria, tells us the story of Bran, a dog that was abandoned twice due to his great nervousness and who today is a celebrity on TikTokBran ‘speaks’ Spanish through re-writable buttons that have specific commands such as “street”, “ eat”, “water” or “ball” Nuria tells us the secrets to teach our pets to ‘speak’: “The first thing to do is teach them the action of pressing” Bran has not had an easy life. For much of his early life, this now-celebrity dog was locked in a kennel. Things seemed to be going well when he was adopted, but he was again abandoned and ended up in a shelter. According to his current owners, perhaps that abandonment was due to his nervousness, his desire to live and his desire to play. The fleeting owners of him were not able to see the abilities of the animal; Bran was not a stuffed toy for the sofa, Bran was excited and curious to enjoy and learn. Its current owner approached the shelter and learned the story of the animal, which today is her dream, her best friend and, above all, her companion. With the animal at home, Nuria discovered the profile of Christina Hunger through social networks, a language pedagogue who began to use the technique of speech with buttons in children. Over time, Hunger tried to use the same method but with the dogs. It worked, and Nuria – a faithful follower of Hunger – began to try the tricks with her new partner Bran. Thanks to this, today Bran is the first Spanish-speaking dog and a true TikTok star. The animal accumulates more than two million followers who enjoy the videos in which the dog communicates with its owners. In fact, Nuria admits that “they even recognize her on the street” and ask her for photographs under the nickname “Bran Parlante”. And it is not for less, the videos of her are surprising for the clarity with which the animal communicates. Operation and utility The operation is simple. Nuria records her voice on special buttons with keywords such as “street”, “eat”, “water”, “ball” and other types of commands that Bran recognizes. The animal has a panel with up to fifteen buttons, each with a word, which he presses depending on what he wants to do. For example, if Bran wants to go to the street he will press the “street” button. If, on the other hand, he is thirsty, he will ask for “water”. So with a multitude of buttons distributed in different sections -objects, places, subjects and actions- that facilitate communication between the animal and the owners. “This helps us to take another step in communication with our pets,” says Nuria. According to her, the first notions that the animal must receive if it wants to learn to speak through buttons must be basic concepts that are understood even by the physical behavior of the animal, such as “street”. From there, she will advance in certain concepts that are more difficult to communicate with the physicist, such as the name of a family member or the desire to go to a certain specific place, such as a river. How do I do it with my pet? What Nuria is clear about is that “the ability to learn depends on the pet” so some will be predisposed to learn more words than others. According to experts, dogs can learn up to 150 words, but Bran’s owners don’t plan on “even close” to that figure. Of course, Nuria admits “having no limit” in the number of words that she is going to teach Bran, always looking for “those words necessary because some aspect of communication fails us.” The first thing to do with an animal to which what you want to teach him to ‘speak’ is to instruct him in the action of pressing: “Just as you teach your dog to sit, lie down or any other trick, you have to teach him to press”, comments Nuria. Once the animal knows the action of pressing, it must be shown how to identify each button through modeling. For example, according to Nuria “for the eat button, the eat button would be pressed and then they would be fed”. In such a way that “by repeating this action every day they come to understand that ‘oh, if I press this button they will feed me’, and in the end it is the effect we are looking for.” During the entire interview Bran has been lying on top of Nuria. As soon as it was over, the animal got up and went to the button panel. It seems that he has felt like going to the bathroom, because he has asked to go out into the “street”. The animal has given us a faithful demonstration of how the buttons work, and we accompany him on his street walk.
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