According to an article in the October 12th issue of People magazine, a 12-year old English terrier mix has been taught to read!
To win a bet with a friend, Manhattan dog trainer Lyssa Howells worked with Willow for 6 weeks, and got the dog to react appropriated to commands written on posterboard. The dog can wave and sit-up, as well as my favorite, roll over and play dead when a sign is held up saying “Bang”.
Experts say the dog is not capable of reading, as you or I would experience it, but is rather learning to relate the shape of the letters drawn on the posterboard to a specific action. Really, this is the same as teaching a dog to respond to hand signals. I guess theoretically, you could write anything on the card and teach the dog to sit when he sees that combination of shapes.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!