Learning from Dogs
Can a Dog Teach a Preschooler?
Recently, a group of researchers decided to study whether or not the presence of a dog affects the ability of children to follow directions. Preschoolers were asked to perform basic motor skill tasks in the presence of a dog, a human, and a stuffed life-size dog manipulated by a human. The tasks were either demonstrated first or were to be performed at the same time.
Who do you think made the better teacher? The grown-up? The dog? Or the stuffed dog? Go ahead and make your guess…
Are you back? The envelope please… Turns out the kids did best when they emulated the real dog’s behavior as opposed to the human or stuffed dog.
In terms of timing, they did the worst when they had to perform the task at the same time as the dog. This doesn’t seem that surprising, as neither dogs nor preschoolers seem very good at synchronization.
But the results do seem to indicate that if you want your kid to do something, ask the dog to do it first.
Look for our future post in which we explore how to teach your dog how to clean up its room, brush its teeth and eat its vegetables.
Reference: Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals, Volume 22, Number 3, September 2009 , pp. 267-276(10). Authors: Gee, Nancy R.; Sherlock, Timothy R.; Bennett, Emily A.; Harris, Shelly L.