If you haven’t heard of Bunny the talking dog yet, your day is going to get better. Trust us on this one.
Bunny is a 15-month-old Sheepadoodle who got her communication skills through her mama, Alexis Devine, who learned the training through speech-language pathologist Christina Hunger. Devine started out easy, with a word Bunny was already very familiar with: “outside.” The button was placed by the door so Bunny could make the association between pressing the button and being rewarded by going outside.
“I thought, what a dream, you know, for our animals to tell us that they love us, to express their needs and wants, to tell us when they’re in pain,” Devine told The News Tribune. “So I got a couple of the buttons, just devoured Christina’s blog and thought I’d give it a shot.”
While Bunny looks like a pro, the training consists of thousands of tiny reinforcements to help Bunny learn and catch on.
Devine has documented Bunny’s progress on social media, where she has grabbed the attention of millions. Currently, Bunny has 437K Instagram followers, however, she does best on TikTok, where she has racked up 4.8 million followers and received a total of 82.9 million likes.
“It seemed remarkable to me, like the video itself,” Devine said of Bunny’s TikTok fame. “So it didn’t really surprise me. But I didn’t know how TikTok worked. So it was sort of a shock to watch how things moved around the world after that.”
In fact, Bunny has gained so much attention that she is part of a Comparative Cognition Lab study at the University of California, San Diego. The study’s focus is to better understand how dogs interpret human language. Devine has her own theory, though. She believes Bunny memorizes the buttons’ place, like how we learn to type on a keyboard. Eventually, we don’t need to look at the keys due to muscle memory and Devine believes that is happening with Bunny.