Speech pathologist Christina Hunger set up a series of buttons (that when pressed say a word) her dog can press that alerts Christina to her needs like when she is hungry, her emotions and feelings, when she wants to go outside, when she wants to play, and more. Stella is even able to put together short sentences like "Park play" using the buttons and can essentially speak with her owner.
Christina noticed Stella showed many of the same characteristics of a toddler right before they are able to use words to communicate and came up with the button board idea for her dog. She wondered since Stella could understand words if she would be able to use them if given a way to express them.
To teach Stella how to use the button board, the speech pathologist would narrate an item or action like "water" or "outside" and then press the corresponding button. After around 3 weeks, Stells began using the correct button to ask for each item and her first word was "outside."
Christina feels nearly any dog can learn how to communicate in this manner with the use of a button board and the owner repeating the word and then pressing the corresponding button over a period of time.