To demonstrate to the other person you really care about what they have to say and to show them that you are listening and understanding, you would consider every word they say and acknowledge their words and ideas with nods, responses, and other signs. Our animal friends deserve nothing less.
So when you ask one "What's one of your favorite things to do?" and he answers "Go to the park," show your interest and ask further. "Oh, the park — that sounds fun! What do you like to do there? What kinds of things do you normally do and see? Do you have a favorite park? Do you see friends there? How often do you go?"
When you make your animal friends feel special and heard, you take your relationship to a new level — which can dramatically improve your communication with them. They aren't machines spitting out answers mechanically when we drop in a coin. They are thinking, feeling beings who appreciate that deeper, more thoughtful interaction. You will appreciate it, too!