The Shelter Buddies Reading Program at the Humane Society of Missouri trains children, ages 6 to 15, to read a shelter dog’s body language. If a particular dog is anxious, shy or stressed, the kids proceed to sit in front of that dog’s kennel and read aloud to him or her. If the dogs show interest, the kids toss them treats as reinforcement. The shelter says the program works in three ways — by bringing shyer dogs out of their shells and making them more comfortable around children and families; by using the children’s calming voices to relax more energetic dogs; and by allowing kids to practice their reading skills in front of a non-judgmental audience.
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