Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 42 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- All the Swoon-Worthy GIFs You'll Ever Need from Ryan Reynold's Superbowl Commercial
- Read the Cover Story: Amy Duggar King: I'm Doing It My Way
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt Dresses as Robin and Makes Out with a Man in Drag During Harvard's Hasty Pudding Man of the Year Ceremony
- Hungry Girl: The Healthy 8-Layer Dip You Need to Make for Super Bowl Sunday
- Solange Knowles Reportedly Loses Wedding Ring While on Mardi Gras Parade Route
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- October 12, 2009
- Vol. 72
- No. 15
See Spot Read
She Hasn't Tackled Marley & Me Just Yet, but Willow the Dog Can Read Written Commands
You might be wrong. After just six weeks of practicing with her owner, Manhattan dog trainer Lyssa Howells, Willow can read—and follow—a few basic commands like "sit up" and "wave." When Howells silently holds up a card with "bang" written on it, Willow plays dead.
"She's the most intelligent creature I've known in my life," says Howells, 28, who trains dogs both for pet owners and for TV appearances. She began teaching her own dog to read on a bet from a friend, who offered a trip to Mexico if she could do it. Howells was confident in Willow, who knows 250 tricks. "I can ask her, in full sentences, 'Please go to the kitchen and grab a pen.' She's amazing." When Willow proved she could act on written commands with no voice or hand signals, Howells won the bet. She took Willow to Baja to celebrate.
But isn't this dog just recognizing cue cards? The fact that Willow "understands either handwritten signs or printed signs," says Howells, argues for comprehension over simple memorization. Brooklyn animal behaviorist Peter Borchelt says, "This is not reading. The dog is discriminating between the shapes of the letters." Still, some experts feel it is possible. "It's not the same as human reading," says Alexandra Horowitz, author of Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know. "Dogs are really perceptive, and I believe they can do more than we give them credit for."
So what's next? Writing? Not quite yet. Though Willow stood up at Howells' City Hall wedding in March, she was unable to sign as a witness. But, Howells says proudly, "Her paw prints are stamped on the marriage license."
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!