Carolyn Hax: Roommates-turned-‘baby-talking monsters’ want another dog


Adapted from an online discussion.

Hi Carolyn: I live with two roommates, both are old college friends. We’re now 26. Anyway, over the past year, they decided to foster dogs. I was all in and agreed they could foster them, but I’m not a huge pet person and we decided the dogs were theirs.

The first few dogs were good and well-behaved, but my roommates turned into baby-talking monsters around them. It was like a switch went off and they talked as if they were talking to toddlers endlessly. Once I noticed it, I couldn’t stop noticing it and it annoyed me to no end. After a few weeks, the dogs found homes and the baby talking stopped.

Well, now my roommates have decided to bring home a puppy, to keep. The thought of them talking in baby talk … forever … makes me want to scream. I previously casually mentioned the baby talking, and they both laughed it off and said they can’t help it. I haven’t mentioned it again because I’m fully aware I can’t control others, I can only control myself! But short of moving out, what can I do?

Annoyed: It’s really just make peace with it or move out. I’m sorry. Or say no to the puppy. Or mention the irritation less casually, but then … I don’t know. First, squeaky talk is effective. And, you have the right to object, but you also seem to have an otherwise happy arrangement with old friends, and I would never advise breaking one of those up lightly.

Which brings up another possibility, that you’re maturing out of group living naturally — be it this group in particular or any group at all — and that message just happens to have been phrased as, “Who’s the bestest boyyyyyyeee!!!”

Liking your friends a lot is especially important now because puppies are an utter pain in the butt relative to adult dogs; I hope they know what they’re getting (you) into. In fact, their being baby-talking monsters might seem like your dream problem in retrospect when a puppy upends your lives. (Maybe adopting an older dog is a better fit for your household …)

Anyway. If it helps with the making-peace part, then please allow this dog person to point out that dogs freaking love the baby voice. Love it. I’m sorry. I learned it from a trainer, and my kids will never forgive her or me, but in my house I am queen of the dogs because I do the squeaky voice and my sons don’t, except to make fun of me and my squeaky voice. So, yeah.

Re: Doggy talk: Hi! I work with macho, burly guys who train dogs to work with police departments and even they do the baby voice. High, excited, squeaky voices out of literal Marines. The dogs love it when they’ve obeyed and it gets them excited to keep following instructions. Sorry but it’s a good thing in dog training.

Anonymous: Don’t be sorry, be squeaky.

By the way, the baby voice makes dogs even more handsome. I have this on good authority.

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