It has been shown over and over again that music is a great comforting tool for dogs, either for pets needing to be home along or animals in shelters. And there are a ton of listening options for pooches, including playlists on Spotify, special dog-listening CDs and preloaded Bluetooth speakers.
But now a company is looking for our pups to get a little book smart, too. Well, kind of.
Audible, the largest seller of narrated books, just released Audible for Dogs.
Teaming up with Cesar Millan of the Dog Whisperer, the new service will provide a collection of books for your dog to listen to while you are away.
The collection includes an eccentric collection of titles, with video instructions from Millan on how to prepare your dog for his first listening experience.
The concept was inspired by a 2015 study done by Hartpury College in the U.K. The team found that listening to audiobooks was a bigger stress reducer than music for dogs. After this discovery, Audible teamed up with Millan for their own study at the Cesar Millan’s Dog Psychology Center. Of the 100 dogs that participated in the study, it was reported that 76 of them were more relaxed and calmer during the four-week test period, according to their owners.
“Dogs are social animals, so they need to engage with someone and the purpose of Audible for Dogs is to make dogs feel there is someone with them,” Millan said in a statement. “The person performing the audiobook is actually keeping your dog calm and taking the dog to a resting state, acting as an extension of you.”
To help get your dog ready for her first audiobook experience while you are gone, Millan recommends focusing on the R.E.S.T. strategy.
R: Routine. Don’t act like it is a big deal when you are leaving. No need to make a huge production when it is time to say goodbye.
E: Exercise. Before you leave for an extended period of time, make sure you get some extra exercise in there. Millan recommends adding 15-20 additional minutes to the outdoor activity.
S: Space. Place the audio-listening device next to the dog’s favorite spot, or where she tends to go when you leave the house.
T: Time. Ease into the process. Millan recommends that at first, you turn on the audiobook while you are still in the house. Begin at 5 minutes, then do 20 minutes, followed by an hour.
To choose which book is right for your dog, the dog trainer suggests focusing on “voice, energy and consistency.” The narrator should sound like the owner, while the dog should be able to feel the emotional energy throughout the book and the storytelling should have a consistent feel from beginning to end.
Audible for Dogs kicked off with a curated list, including Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, W. Bruce Cameron’s A Dog’s Purpose and Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain. More information can be found at Audible for Dogs.