(WAVE) If you think a smart dog is one who can roll over or shakes hands on command, you haven’t met Mia. Mia, can read. Or at least Mia’s owner says she can.
Dog trainer Maureen Ward says she taught her mini Australian Shepherd how to read using a technique she developed herself.
Ward and Mia recently found the perfect place to show off the trick of all dogs tricks. The Brown School in downtown Louisville, Kentucky.
The duo visited the students with large laminated cards, each one featuring a single word. Once those cards were shuffled, the students amazement began.
The first card Ward held up read “High 5.”
“What’s that say?” Ward asked.
Mia lifted one of her paws.
A second one read “Jump.”
Again Ward asked, “What’s that say?”
Mia leapt in the air.
And Ward says she can teach other dogs to read too.
“When I say by week four your dogs are qualified to read, and they’re like no way!” Ward says of other owners. “And sure enough, the dogs are reading by four weeks and they’re jaws are just dropping to the ground.”
But how does she do it? Ward said she begins with a vocal command, such as sit, then incorporates a hand gesture to go with the vocal command. She then adds bold letters to the mix, and eventually the dogs recognize a command by seeing the letters.
Ward says dogs learn letters much like humans.
“Basically the same thing,” Ward said. “Taking your letters and spelling them out.”