While two human adults engaged in heated conversation can hardly be described as cute, a baby and a puppy sharing a shouting match is a recipe for cuteness overload. When one infant got into a spirited discussion with her family puppy, hilarity ensued (video below).
One day, a father discovered that his baby, Sophie, was having a back-and-forth with the family dog, Wicket. He wisely took the opportunity to record their banter for the internet's enjoyment, Shareably reports.
Wicket is a Shorkie, a mixed breed of Shih Tzu and Yorkshire terrier. Shorkies tend to be loyal, affectionate and a bundle of energy, according to Small Dog Place.
That irrepressible energy is on full display as Wicket darts around the living room carpet, tail wagging as Sophie talks to him in baby speak.
Sophie, with a wide smile on her face, lies in a crawl position as she calls out to the pup. Wicket responds with a series of barks. The two conversation partners respond to each other like old friends heatedly trying to get in the last word.
Sophie's family dubbed the exchange "The Battle of Cuteness!"
There is evidence to suggest that babies have a firmer understanding of dogs than older humans. In 2009, a study by psychology professor Ross Flom of Brigham Young University in Utah found that 6-month-old infants were capable of recognizing whether a dog was being aggressive or friendly, according to Fox News.
"Emotion is one of the first things babies pick up on in their social world," Flom said.
Something that both babies and dogs share is that human adults talk to them in infant-directed speech, that whimsical tone of baby talk. One researcher found that this says more about humans than it does about dogs.
Acoustic communication specialist Nicolas Mathevon of Jean Monnet University in France has found that while infant-directed speech does gain the attention of puppies, older dogs largely ignore it.
Mathevon concluded that this means that human adults instinctively use infant-directed speech not because they are addressing an infant, but because they are trying to communicate with a non-verbal creature.
"Our study suggests that we use this kind of speech pattern to engage interaction with non-speaking listener," Mathevon told Gizmodo.
"In underlines that we try to adapt the way we speak to our listener -- or to what we think our listener is able to understand," he added.