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Why I Read To My Dogs – It’s Not Just For Kids! 🐾 Little Dog Tips

Have you heard about how reading to dogs helps kids improve their reading skills?

Dogs are patient, judgement-free listeners. They don’t mind if kids take their time sounding out new words. They don’t interrupt with questions or corrections.

And kids love the novel idea of reading a story to a dog, even if the dog doesn’t understand the plot. It likely reminds them of when their parents show their love by reading them a story before bedtime. It’s so wonderful when kids pass on love at an early age, and even when they can’t remember which books they read, they’ll always remember those warm and fuzzy moments.

Many shelters across the United States have reading programs, offering adoptable dogs companionship and socialization and giving kids opportunities to read with them.

Even though they can’t follow the story, the dogs can learn to love being around children, preparing them for when they find a family to call their own.

Why Reading To Dogs Isn’t Just For Kids

Even though it’s been decades since you’ve learned to read, you can still benefit from reading aloud with your dog.

You might be learning a new language, studying for a college course, or just trying to pick up a new skill.

Research suggests that reading out loud and even teaching the subject to someone else – even your dog – is significantly more effective than simply silently studying and reading by yourself. This is called the protege effect.

What’s more, dogs are highly responsive to human voices.

They can understand our tone, tune into our emotions, experience changes in their brain activity, and recognize their humans’ voices.

The sound of your voice can be a source of comfort for your dog, so much so that some pet parents record themselves reading a story and play it back when they’re not home to help dogs cope with separation anxiety.

Learning A Second Language With Dogs

I’ve been trying to learn Spanish for ages, but no matter how many Spanish courses and apps I’ve gone through, no matter how much time I spend around Spanish speaking family members, and no matter how much I listen to Spanish language music, it just doesn’t seem to click.

One of my favorite Spanish learning exercises is taking home Spanish language picture books from the children’s section of my local library.

Library books helped me grow my vocabulary as a child, so why not try the same for learning Spanish?

My dogs love curling up next to me while I read stories and work out pronunciations and story plots. And they don’t mind when I get stuck and have to look up translations. I don’t have to feel self-conscious about making mistakes. And I feel motivated to act out voices and read the story in a fun, engaging way, rather than just trying to figure out the words.

Even though my dogs don’t understand much English or Spanish, they’re clearly enjoying those special storytimes together. Lately, we’re reading Perronautas by Greg van Eekhout – three chapters in, we’re hooked on an amazing story about dogs traveling through space!

Will I ever get a chance to have a conversation with my grandma in Spanish? Probably not. But little by little, I’m understanding more of what people are saying around me and getting a bit more confident to try speaking, even if I’m going to make mistakes and sound awkward.

What Else Can You Do With Your Dog?

Any boring task becomes a positive experience with your dog by your side.

I have to do my taxes soon, and I’m going to hate that, as always.

But it’s helpful when I narrate the process to my dogs, and it helps me remember to take notes that will help me stay organized for next quarter.

It really doesn’t matter what you’re doing, or how boring the task is – all your dog cares about is being by your side, and that’s why they make life so much better.

Happy dog-reading, everyone!

Lindsay Pevny
Lindsay Pevny lives to help pet parents make the very best choices for their pets by providing actionable, science-based training and care tips and insightful pet product reviews.

She also uses her pet copywriting business to make sure the best pet products and services get found online through catchy copy and fun, informative blog posts. She also provides product description writing services for ecommerce companies.

As a dog mom to Matilda and Cow, she spends most of her days taking long walks and practicing new tricks, and most nights trying to make the best of a very modest portion of her bed.

You’ll also find her baking bread and making homemade pizza, laughing, painting and shopping.

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