Dogs are not only adorable, they sure are very talented as well. They know how to comfort their human friend, they are capable of showing empathy, and they know how to follow and execute an order. But aside from all of these great things, did you know that dogs can ‘read’ and ‘spell’ as well?
Penny, a wandering pup who was rescued and taken care of by a local shelter, seemed like an average dog. Penny used to belong to the 6.5 million companion animals, spending their days in animal shelters.
No matter how many times Penny was adopted, the dog always ends up being returned to the animal shelter. In fact, the staff in the animal shelter are losing hope that she would ever find a home that would take her in forever.
Fortunately for Penny, when Leonora Anzaldua dropped by the local shelter, she instantly fell in love with the adorable puppy. But due to Penny’s relentless energy, staff assumed that she would be back again in no time. Good thing that Leonora had a lot of plans for her and was decided to keep Penny forever.
To keep Penny well-stimulated, Leonora prepared a lot of toys and activities to satisfy her energy with. One of the toys she bought for Penny was cut-out letters and shapes. To Leonora’s surprise, Penny was a very good learner. Soon Penny was able to recognize letters spelling out Leonora’s name, and as well as shapes.
Penny does not only know how to spell out her name, she is also good at recognizing numbers and could count as well!
Penny is not the only dog on the planet that knows how to spell. Apparently, Pat Curry also discovered that her dog could spell as well. In fact, there were times that she tried to outsmart her dog by spelling things out loud instead of directly saying the place where she would go, yet her dog would still figure it out.
“If we weren’t going to take her with us, we would spell B-A-N-K. It wasn’t long before spelling the word got the same reaction as saying it. So, we actually started saying ‘the place where we put money’ instead. Even that didn’t work for long. As soon as she heard me tearing a check or a deposit slip out of the checkbook, she headed for the door.” Pat Curry explained.
Science says that dogs can recognize shapes and letters over time spent on training. However, one cannot help but wonder if they could really read and understand the words spelled out in front of them…
Brian Ogle the lead anthrozoology instructor at Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida explains this phenomenon. According to Brian, dogs do not literally spell nor know the letters, they just learned how to associate the term or the orders of their owner with the letters spelled out.
“For example, instead of asking if Fido wants to go for a walk, every time say W-A-L-K instead. Then go grab the leash and take the dog on the walk. Most dogs will quickly learn to associate the spelled-out word with the activity or object. When they learn that W-A-L-K means that you’re going for a stroll around the neighborhood, they’ll start getting excited about the spelling.” Brian cited an example to explain this phenomenon.
According to Holistic Physical therapist, Sally Morgan, dogs are capable of learning our language over time, without the need to teach them specific names. It is highly recommended to speak to dogs using whole sentences, and incorporating ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ Doing so results with dogs listening to you more frequently and with accuracy.
Regardless of the experts’ opinion, Leonora believes that Penny’s ability to recognize letters, shapes, and numbers are all due to her being one smart pup!
Watch the video below and see for yourself how Penny, a dog from the local shelter, was able to learn how to read and spell all thanks to her new family who did not stop believing in her abilities!
Photos and Video | Youtube