Scots Olympic swimmer Hannah Miley teaches her dog how to “read”

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SCOTS Olympian swimmer Hannah Miley has taught her dog how to “read” signs.

The 32-year-old two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist said she was looking for a new hobby so decided to train Poppy how to recognise words on cue cards.

Hannah, from Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, wrote the words “down” and “spin” on A4 paper and has been giving her beloved spaniel treats whenever she performs each trick.

Hannah posted a video on Twitter yesterday (WED) showing Poppy performing in the kitchen.

The clip begins with Hannah standing in her kitchen, with Poppy – a black and tan spaniel – waiting eagerly at her feet with her tail wagging.

The swimming champ then picks up a sheet of paper from the kitchen worktop and holds it up in front of Poppy.

The sheet has the word “down” printed on it in bold, black letters – and Poppy can be seen briefly scanning it.

The dog backs off for a second before approaching Hannah again and doing an adorable spin on the spot.

The Scot then shakes her head and says “nope” so Poppy takes another shot at it – reading the sheet carefully before sitting down in front of Hannah.

She praises the pup and says: “Yes, good girl!” before throwing some biscuits to the ground.

Hannah Miley teaching her dog Poppy - sat in front of her - how to read signs.
Hannah has spent “months” teaching Poppy.                                                                                           (C) Hannah Miley

Poppy scoffs up the treat and sniffs around for some more whilst Hannah grabs another sheet of paper from the counter.

Hannah then holds up the card for “spin” and after a short delay staring at the message Poppy then spins on the spot.

Hannah praises the pup again, repeating: “Yes, good girl!” before throwing some more biscuits to the ground to reward Poppy, before the video ends.

Hannah posted the video onto social media yesterday (WED), writing: “Swimming has always been my job and hobby.

“During Covid I found I needed to find a new hobby to look after my mental health. 

“Training Poppy has been the best thing. It’s taken several months but slowly been trying to teach Poppy to read! It’s not perfect but we sure have fun.

Hannah with her partner Euan and their dog Poppy.
Hannah with partner Euan Duff and Poppy.                                                                                             (C) Hannah Miley

The clip has over 2,000 views and comments from impressed followers.

Peter Thomson said: “I’m very impressed. My dog doesn’t even know his name. He thinks he’s called biscuit!”

Vern Nathan wrote: “That’s great! Teach her hand signals too.”

Susan Medcalf replied: “Clever Poppy!”

City of Manchester’s Aquatics page joked: “Are we allowed to use treats on swimmers to make them swim fast?”

Hannah represented Great Britain at three Olympic Games, reaching the final of the 400 metres individual medley on each occasion, finishing sixth in 2008, fifth in 2012 and fourth in 2016. 

Also in the 400 m individual medley, she is a former world short-course champion, European champion, and two-time European short-course champion for Team GB.

Hannah missed out on the recent 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo after failing to qualify due to having shoulder surgery in October 2020.

The swimmer said on Twitter at the time that she had “no regrets” and aims to take part in a fourth Olympics in 2024.