FluentPet is a system of HexTiles and recordable sound buttons designed to help you teach your dog to communicate. It is inspired by Christina Hunger's work with her dog Stella. Detailed information on the FluentPet system can be found on the Science and Design page.
Not currently, but we'd love to! We want to partner with anyone who can help spread the word about the potential of giving dogs and other animals better abilities to communicate and express themselves.
The FluentPet tiles and button system was developed by Leo Trottier, a California-based cognitive scientist trained at University of California San Diego, in close collaboration with the Canine AAC Test Pilots, a group of people based in the US, Canada, Sweden, Netherlands, Australia, and beyond, who have made incredible progress teaching their dogs to use sound buttons to express themselves.
FluentPet developer Leo Trottier started CleverPet while a PhD candidate in Cognitive Science at University of California San Diego. We are sharing what we’re learning with the Comparative Cognition Laboratory at University of California San Diego to better understand how it is that dogs and other animals use, and are able to use, sound buttons to express themselves. For more on this, please check out How.TheyCanTalk.Org for information on how to join (and don't worry, you don't need to have FluentPet buttons to be a part of this!).
Our team works remotely from locations in the US and Canada, with a good many of us in California.
We test every sound button to make sure that it records and playbacks properly. Sometimes, for a number of the buttons manufactured in the past, the test sound remained on the button after shipping. Under normal operation, this test sound would never be heard. However, under certain conditions, customers may be able to hear the test sound. If you switch your button to record mode then press and hold the button until you hear a beep, any previously recorded sound will be erased.
To record, make sure your button is in record mode by sliding the switch on the side of the button to the left. Press and hold the button until it beeps (3-5 seconds), then say the word or phrase you’d like to record. Release the button when you’re done.
Slide the switch to the right to change to play mode and press the button to play back the recording. In play mode, your learner is prevented from accidentally erasing the recording.
By experimenting with the volume of your voice and the position of the button while you’re recording, you can significantly improve the button audio quality and reduce distortion.
The microphone is located on the underside of the button—it is a small hole around the size of a pen tip. Make sure the microphone is uncovered when you are recording. If the microphone is covered while recording, it produces static.
When speaking too close to the microphone, the microphone can be overpowered—causing the playback to be significantly distorted. Speak clearly, but not particularly loudly. The button will adjust its volume to compensate if the volume is low, but it can’t compensate for volume that’s too high. Because of the button’s size, higher-pitched sounds tend to be better reproduced than lower ones, so adjusting the pitch of your voice can also be a way of improving the audio the button produces. Getting it just right can take a few attempts.
The FluentPet System is designed to be flexible and accommodate learners big and small. For small learners, the buttons require relatively little pressure to activate. In the case of larger learners (and paws!), we recommend spreading out the buttons when they first start using sound buttons and not filling every HexTile button space. As your learner gets more comfortable and precise with their button presses, you can experiment with a more dense arrangement of sound buttons.
Like nearly every electronic device on the planet in this price range, the tiles and buttons are manufactured in China. We are working as hard as we can to expand production to North America and Europe.
Why, yes. Thanks for noticing! We're so excited to introduce our NEW and IMPROVED HexTiles with soft tops. Brighter, lighter, and easier to assemble, they’re nicer to walk on and represent the latest evolution of soundboard design. Our kits now come standard with the Soft-Top HexTiles.
Our original Hard-Top HexTiles can still be purchased individually. They’re compatible with the Soft-Top HexTiles, so whichever you choose, they’ll easily fit together.
Our ratio of tiles to buttons is designed to maximize your chances of success in teaching buttons while minimizing the cost involved. In particular:
Spacing out sound buttons across multiple HexTiles makes them easier to distinguish from each other, and thus, should improve your learner’s ability to learn and remember them. We strongly discourage filling HexTiles with buttons too quickly, which can overwhelm and confuse learners. Rather, we recommend one button per HexTile, gradually increasing the number of buttons per HexTile as your learner’s vocabulary increases.
More space between FluentPet Sound Buttons means more precise communications. At first, many learners are a bit “sloppy” in their presses, which can lead to problems if the HexTiles are full. Over time, many learners become more skilled, permitting a greater button density, but many teachers will want to preserve the added space, especially if their learners have bigger paws.
Because there’s no “final” vocabulary, it’s almost never the case that every single space in a soundboard will be filled with buttons.
The FluentPet Hard-Top HexTiles are made of a combination of a hard-plastic top layer, a flexible EVA foam layer (the same material used for flip flops and slippers), and a non-slip rubber bottom layer. The Soft-Top HexTiles are made primarily out of EVA foam and also have a non-slip rubber bottom layer. The buttons have an ABS plastic housing that holds the electronics to make them work.
|Soft-Top Compact HexTile||Hard-Top Compact HexTile||Big-Paw Hextile||Large HexTile|
|Compact 7.9 in (200 mm)||Compact 7.9 in (200 mm)||Mid-Sized 9.6 in (245 mm)||Large 11.8 in (300 mm)|
|Best for conserving space||Best for conserving space||Best for learners with larger paws and lots of buttons||Best for transitioning from large sound buttons to FluentPet Sound Buttons|
|Holds Up to 6 FluentPet Sound Buttons||Holds Up to 6 FluentPet Sound Buttons||Holds Up to 6 FluentPet Sound Buttons||Holds Up to 6 Buttons— FluentPet Sound Buttons and/or 3.5 in (8.9 mm) Large Buttons|
|Colorful Foam Top||Scratch-Resistant Top||Colorful Foam Top||Colorful Foam Top|
|6 Patterns for Different Word Categories||6 Patterns for Different Word Categories||6 Patterns for Different Word Categories||6 Patterns for Different Word Categories|
|Compatible with Soft-Top and Hard-Top Compact HexTiles||Compatible with Soft-Top and Hard-Top Compact HexTiles||Compatible with Big-Paw HexTiles||Compatible with Large HexTiles|
FluentPet products are available on this website as well as our US website at fluent.pet.
Yes, we encourage you to place an order as we fulfill orders on a first in first out basis and our inventory is constantly being replenished.
Due to high demand and issues with the global supply chain caused by COVID-19, customers have experienced pre-order shipping delays of 4-8 weeks or more. In-stock items are fulfilled within 1-3 business days.
We strive to reduce waste and use less plastics in our product line wherever possible. All our products are shipped in recyclable cardboard boxes, with a minimum of plastic packaging materials. For the items where we still use plastic packaging materials, we have plans in place to replace these with sustainable alternatives or to completely remove them.
This practice is extremely new and there are no scientifically or systematically validated methods for training dogs to use buttons. Nonetheless, we do recommend checking out our Complete Guide On Getting Started or the online community at How.TheyCanTalk.Org for tips and tricks and great conversation!
Kind of! What are sometimes called “affiliates” we call FluentPet Guides. Guides benefit in a similar way by receiving a commission for orders they refer. It’s about much more than that though! By being a FluentPet Guide, you get our support as you help to show the world how to be successful with teaching your learner. As such, eligibility is based on your learner's level of progress—everyone with a dog, cat, or other learner who has demonstrated success with FluentPet is welcome. Check out the FluentPet Guides page for benefits and requirements of the program.
Products on this website ship from our Germany warehouse. For more information, please visit Shipping and Return
If you chose the postal/standard service to ship, they offer very limited tracking, only recording the milestones. For more information, please visit Shipping and Returns.
For items shipping out of our Hong Kong warehouse (Tester Kits, Soundboard Carriers, Sticker Sheets, and individual Buttons and HexTiles), your order can be cancelled right up until the moment it ships. Once it has left the warehouse, however, it is literally out of our hands. For items shipping out of our US Warehouse (18-pack Buttons, Get Started Kits, Basic Vocab Kits and They Can Talk Kits), you have up until your order is packed and that can happen quickly! To cancel, email email@example.com and our customer service team will be happy to help. Inquiries are typically answered within 24-48 hours. Please check your spam folder if you don’t see a response from us. For more information, please visit Shipping and Returns.
If your order hasn’t left the warehouse (Hong Kong warehouse) or hasn't been packed (US warehouse), we can help you change your address. Just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and our customer service team will be happy to help. Inquiries are typically answered within 24-48 hours. Please check your spam folder if you don’t see a response from us.
For the safety of our learners and their parents, we cannot accept returns on used products as they can't be resold.
If you’re unsure of whether this will work out, we recommend giving it a try with our low-commitment Tester Kit.
You can also visit How.TheyCanTalk.org ... our online community devoted to realizing the potential of communication with dogs and other species. Ask questions, find support, and watch and share amazing videos of learner successes.
We stand behind our products and will happily replace parts with manufacturing defects. If you are experiencing bad/distorted sounds with one of your sound buttons, you may be eligible for a replacement. If it's occurring with all of them, the most likely scenario is that the sound was recorded incorrectly. For more information about getting the best sound out of the FluentPet Sound Buttons, click here. Please refer to our Warranty page for more details