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Can my dog learn to read? #ASKHSSA

You might think the answer is a short and sweet “nope”, but your four-legged fur baby could also end up surprising you with their ability to seemingly comprehend the written word.

While we’re not suggesting you dust off your college copy of Ana Karenina and chuck it to your dog, there have been cases where certain dogs have exhibited behavior that would indicate they can understand some printed words.

Cognition, or the ability to think and understand the world through sensory perception, is a complicated enough topic when discussing human intelligence. Animals, as they say, are an entirely different kettle of fish.

Dogs who demonstrate the ability to read and comprehend specific words are probably not “reading” in the way that we think of reading. Instead, it is likely these dogs are picking up on subtle cues to determine what behavior is expected of them. Just because the dog knows to sit when he is shown the word “sit”, doesn’t mean the dog has read the word and understands it.

Sorry, Fido probably won’t be reading bedtime stories to the kiddos anytime soon.  The opposite, however, is a very beneficial activity! Our Paws and Pages Literacy Program gives children the opportunity to improve their reading skills while giving shelter pets a non-challenging way to socialize and interact with people. Reading to shelter pets decreases their stress levels and improves their interactions with people. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Check out our Paws and Pages Literacy Program here.

This year, as part of our celebration of our 75th Anniversary, the Paws and Pages Literacy Program is hosting a very special 4th of July Patriots, Paws and Pages event. Veterans and active-duty personnel can read to shelter pets to help soothe them during a night that is difficult for many shelter dogs.

Learn more about Patriots, Paws and Pages, and all of our 75th Anniversary festivities, here.