Yesterday evening, I was talking with a dog trainer, service dog-raiser friend of mine who asked me what kinds of things I wanted to teach my dog, Fella, that might enhance his value as a therapy dog. I told her that besides the ďBe a love,Ē ďGive us a hugĒ, ďSay hiĒ and other, sort of standard tricks Iíve already taught him, I wasnít sure.
She then mentioned she had a book about teaching your dog to read
that she said was fascinating and sheíd be glad to lend me. My curiosity greatly whetted, I said I would try to track it down, but that if I couldnít, Iíd love to see it.
On the way home, the more I thought about it, the more excited I got at the thought of the potential value and kick thereíd be if I could teach Fella to read. Iím not talking about reading books or newspapers or documents or websites on the computer. They havenít quite figured out how to teach dogs how to do that.
No, according to the book I was able to locate at good olí trusty Amazon,
and then immediately download onto my Kindle app, itís apparently about making giant flash cards with cue words on them like ďSit,Ē, ďDownĒ, ďSay hi,Ē etc. Over time and working them up to it with preliminary steps and aids starting out, people have trained dogs to be able recognize the forms of the letters and distinguish the way one group of letters (or the way one word
) looks from another.
From the little Iíve read so far, turns out that able trainers can get to a point where they can hold up this oversized flash card or that one and without any other hint, verbal or body language type, the dog will follow the cue, or command, and will do what the flash card says.
I donít know if I have the ability or whether Iíll have the patience to teach this to Fella, but heís almost definitely smart enough, eager enough and food-driven enough that I know that someone could. Thinking about how special it would be to take him to schools, etc. if he could learn to do it, Iím really excited about trying. REALLY excited.
Iím guessing that it might tax my brain and patience as learning how to play the pianoís been doing. The prospective rewards and stimulation offered by both make Ďem seem much more than worth the effort.NOTE: Most of the pics Iím tacking on are goofy, posed, not ďrealĒ pics of dogs actually reading. But theyíre fun.http://www.librarydogs.com/doggone_good.htmlDog-related
, if not about books. And then thereís this video displaying the caninification of patience. Incredible. No way would I ever be able to teach my guy to put up with this. EDIT
: Not even dog-relatedÖAm currently watching Alan Cumming being interviewed on Charlie Rose about his new Broadway gig where he plays all the parts in Macbeth, and a mental patient, to boot. Macbeth is one of my all-time favorites. How Iíd love to see this production.EDIT #2
: Just caught this on the news. I find it pretty amazing. As a one-time teacher and just as a human who wishes every kid, actually, that every person could have the kind of access to the Internet and its almost unimaginable bounty of knowledge and learning that I get to have, it actually pleases me A WHOLE LOT. Los Angeles, first, and then I hope, the world.....