So, you think you've got a pretty smart dog. He or she can open the fridge and fetch you a beer, unlatch the gate to your yard to escape or maybe even knows the difference between its toys and correctly grabs the right one when prompted by name. While it proves they're clever, it doesn't hold a candle to learning how to spell their own name. A dog learning how to spell, you scoff? Maybe Martha can do that in books, but in real life? Yup, meet Penny, the spelling dog.
Teaching Dogs New Tricks
Penny's owner is Leonora Loggins. Penny, who is as cute as can be, was adopted and is thought to be a Miniature Pinscher/Rat Terrier mix. Loggins knew Penny was bright, so she took a shot at teaching her how to spell her own name with the help of those large, colorful plastic letters of the type that you buy for kids and are often seen on refrigerator doors in homes with children. Using the reward system it didn't take long for Penny to catch on.
The Rewards of Learning
In the video, you can hear Loggins saying "good job" and Penny's greedy little snuffling and crunching noises after correctly identifying each letter in the right order to spell out P-e-n-n-y. Like all dogs, she's a greedy little bugger that would probably willingly spell her name indefinitely as long as the treats kept coming. The plastic letters are, as you'd expect, each of a different color.
Continuing Education Courses
While Miss Penny is easily able to pick up the right letters in the correct order, the pint-sized spelling champ still has a bit of a problem placing them in a neat row for a legible read. That's all right, because her mom is there to help her align them. If you're curious, yes, Loggins does add extra letters to the pile to make Penny work harder.
So, what's next in her continuing education vocabulary course? Why, spelling out d-o-g, of course!