Amazon and Cesar Millan launch audiobooks for dogs

Commentary: Amazon subsidiary Audible.com has partnered with the famed Dog Whisperer to offer classic books for your pooches.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

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Build Series Presents Cesar Millan and Andrew Millan Discussing "Dog Nation"

Cesar Millan believes you need to leave your dog with a good book.

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I am going to get through this without any literary dog puns. 

No, you're not even going to bait me into suggesting that the new audiobooks for dogs series -- launched on Monday by Amazon subsidiary Audible.com and famed Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan -- would never allow "The Great Catsby" onto its list. Nor, indeed, "The Cat of Monte Cristo."

Instead, I'll simple tell you that Millan believes classic works read by soothing voices will create calm for your dog while he or she is home alone. 

He insists that research proves that 76 percent of dogs who listened to great literature while their owner was absent felt calmer and behaved in a more relaxed manner.

I cannot confirm that the other 24 percent were forced to listen to "The Diversity Myth" by David O. Sacks and Peter Thiel and Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg's "How Google Works."

Among the titles going to the dogs in the Audible series are "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein, "Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood" by Trevor Noah and, of course, Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice."

Audible insists that dogs prefer to listen to voices of the same gender and type as their "primary" owner, which might cause one or two tiffs in a loving two-person household. 

No, darling. I'm Roughshod's primary owner. You're just a subsidiary. Surely you see that Roughshod loves me more than you, don't you?

The company also says that the preferred method of dissemination is an in-home listening device. Oh, this isn't some sneaky way of selling an Amazon Echo, is it? I asked Audible whether the Echo is the best way to listen to these books. 

"Yes. Or any smart speaker," replied a spokeswoman diplomatically.

How, though, were the books chosen? 

"We looked for consistent and soothing narrations resulting in calm, happy dogs. And we looked for titles that we knew dog owners would enjoy as well," Audible's chief content officer Andy Gaies told me.

An alternative, of course, is just to record yourself reading any book you like -- "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," for example. Or "Lewis and Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President."

Or would that be too much effort? After all, you might be away for 10 or 12 hours a day if you work in tech, so to have to record hours of text when you get home or at weekends might be laborious. 

Better, perhaps, if you just teach your dog to code. I hear that's a relaxing pursuit too.

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