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In Missouri, a reading program for shelter dogs is working well and benefiting both the participating kids and the shy canines. Fearful and shy dogs are not preferred by pet parents, therefore the pooches need to interact with other people more. For this reason, the Humane Society of Missouri started the reading program in which kids read to the canines.
If the fearful and shy pooch shows interest and approaches the kids they are rewarded with a treat. The animals become calm and respond positively to the reading. Children aged six to 15 years are taking part in the program. They are trained to understand a canine’s body language and notice if a dog is nervous or stressed.
The children identify such dogs and sit outside their pen to read out to them. The dogs become relaxed and soothed on hearing the kids’ voices and benefit from this program. Further, the participating children also gain as they can improve their reading ability as well as build empathy with their furred friends. The exercise is quiet and peaceful and the kids enjoy creating a positive effect on the dogs.
These children learn to look at life from the viewpoint of animals and can connect better with people and animals. The Missouri society plans to extend the reading program to its other shelters as well as to cat homes. In this way, they are helping shy pups and dogs find loving homes.
Author: Anna Gragert
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