Cognitive scientists and speech pathologists have long used pressable augmentative and alternative communication buttons — each representing an action, place, or object — to communicate with nonverbal individuals. Pioneering speech therapist Christina Hunger, working with her dog Stella, discovered that these buttons can also help dogs and other animals communicate their needs and wants.
By pressing buttons onto which a word or sound has been recorded, a dog can learn to “speak” in simple phrases like “play” and “outside.” Give them enough buttons and they can communicate their thoughts on almost everything.
You can get started with a beginner’s set of four to six buttons. For this guide, we’ve selected the best options, including budget, fully customizable, and light-up versions, plus the best training program to teach your dog to talk with buttons.
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The best dog buttons in 2022
Best dog buttons overall: Fluent Pet Get Started Kit, available at Fluent Pet, $79.95
Fluent Pet’s Get Started Kit comes with six buttons and three nonslip tiles for organizing words and actions.
Best budget dog buttons: Learning Resources Recordable Answer Buzzers, available at Amazon and Staples, from $21.22
Learning Resources Recordable Answer Buzzers are an affordable way to begin teaching a dog to use their words.
Best customizable dog buttons: Talking Products Talking Tiles, available at Amazon, $69.95
Talking Products Talking Tiles are fully customizable with transparent covers and up to 80 seconds of recording time.
Best light-up dog buttons: Galpara LED Voice Recorder Buttons, available at Amazon, $22.99
Galapara’s LED Voice Recorder Buttons play sound and light up simultaneously each time they are pressed.
Best potty button: Mighty Paw Smart Bell 2.0, available at Chewy and Amazon, $29.74
The Mighty Paw Smart Bell 2.0 works indoors or out so your dog can communicate when they need to potty or when they want to come in.
Best dog button training program: Talk to the Beans, available at Talk to the Beans, $30.00
The Talk To The Beans training program teaches guardians and their pets how to communicate using buttons.