Robert Burns poems read to dogs to help them bond with humans


ROBERT BURNS’ works are loved by people around the world but now his poems have found a new four-legged fan base.

His works are being recited to rescue animals to help them bond with humans and make them comfortable with different voices and behaviours.

Staff at the Dogs Trust in Glasgow have been reading the poems to their canine residents to help them acclimatise to different people.

The rescue trust hope that the odd technique will help ready the dogs for life in their new homes.


The charity have found a novel way of making the dogs feel at home


Burns works are said to be the most popular of the novels and poems read to man’s best friend and The Twa Dogs, which he wrote in the mid-1780s, and dedicated to his own border collie, Luath.

Emma Wakefield, a behavioural adviser at Dogs Trust Glasgow said that up to 20 dogs have enjoyed being read to over the past year.

“Reading to your dog is a great way of bonding with them. It could help them develop an association with a particular individual, while a relaxed tone of voice and lack of eye contact while reading creates a non-confrontational environment where they become familiar with human bonds,” she said.

Ms Wakefield believes that dogs will benefit from listening to any type of book so long as it’s read at a slow pace.

However, dogs at the Trust have reportedly responded best to work by Burns and are a “particular favourite” according to Ms Wakefield.

One dog involved in the project is Ollie. The 10-year-old crossbreed has been at the Glasgow Dogs Trust for a year.

Staff say he enjoys the “quiet life” and may have been overlooked by potential new owners because of his age.

Earlier this year, research by the Scottish SPCA and the University of Glasgow revealed that dogs prefer listening to reggae and soft rock.

The researchers played a range of music to their canine friends and found that they were less stressed and behaved better when listening to reggae and soft rock than when they heard Motown, pop or classical music.