Today we will be reading a fairy tale over the intercom to our guests before nap time! We are, admittedly and purposely, a little “crazy” when it comes to boarding activities, but this one makes sense – for lots of reasons!
Ask any dog lover and they’ll all agree, DOGS ARE SMART! Science has taught us that dogs have the intelligence of a toddler! An average dog recognizes around 250 words, and some dogs know far more than that! Amazing, isn’t it? So if you read to a dog, you provide him with more language recognition possibilities, plus you improve his listening and concentration skills as he seeks to understand what you are saying. The mental stimulation you provide your dog by reading to him is probably the best benefit, as mental health is often overlooked yet so important for your dog’s overall well-being!
Comfort and Companionship
The Washington Animal Rescue League has a reading program for shelter dogs. Alexandra Dilley, Training Director, says “The animals really benefit from it, as it gives them a chance to sit with people for long periods of time. Some of them get very lonely being in a shelter environment and they enjoy the company… They aren’t so much following along with the story,” she says, “as just hearing a calm, human voice, which is very comforting to most of them.”* It also provides an opportunity for the dogs to be more comfortable with humans and around humans, if possibly coming from a hostile environment.
Tail Wagging Tudors!
Many dog reading programs came about with a desire to improve a child’s reading and communication skills. Dogs are ideal reading companions because they listen attentively without judging or criticizing. Here in Richmond, Sprite’s HERO, Inc. Paws to R.E.A.D.® program has helped over 1650 children in our area overcome reading problems in the last 9 years!
Not to be outdone, Cats make great reading companions too! The Animal Rescue League of Berks County, P.A., has a program called “Book Buddies” where children read to shelter cats. Do you want to see some of the most adorable pictures ever? Click here and scroll down through the pictures of how the cats react when being read to… it’s just too cute!
Find a Book!
Amazon has a package of “Three Stories You Can Read to your Dog.” The stories are all about things that dogs know best, like squirrels, bones, and running! The best is the a story called “The Bedtime Book for Dogs” that uses words that most dogs understand, like sit, stay, good dog, treat, etc.. Can’t you just see their little ears perk up when you say the word “treat”?!?
Reading to our guests can help lessen any boarding anxiety they may have. A soothing tone of voice may help calm them and help them feel more secure. Try it at home sometime… It’s a great way to spend quality time together. What you read doesn’t matter… Your furry friend will just enjoy listening and hanging-out with you. Pets are kind-of awesome that way!