During the peak of winter when the temperature dipped into the single digits, my motivation was at an all time low. The ground was still covered in snow. This kept me locked away in my room, where I had spent the last few days finishing a midterm essay. Part of finishing this essay meant that I would need to read it out loud for some peer edits. Reading your work out loud to others is one of the most useful tools for revision. It can make you feel as though the people around you are judging you, which can make everything about the experience daunting and horrific. What if the person you read your work to was not able to speak back though? What if they could only listen and not make faces of distaste?
These thoughts lead me to believe that one of the most important people in my life — my dog — would be able to help me with this paper. I quickly found out a few things that you should try when peer editing with a pet!
1. Dogs Have Important Conversation Manners
Dogs have this wonderful capacity for enjoying human interaction that most people lack. Rather than comment on your work while you’re reading it they will sit quietly and wait for you to finish. In my experiences with my dog, she would sit by my side waiting patiently for some attention. Providing attention to her was so much easier than with a human being. She didn’t require a text message or a thank you, she was easy going and mindful.
2. Dogs Are Obedient and Provide Undivided Attention
You have more power than a dog does because they generally obey you. It is tough to wave your finger at someone, whisper come here, and pet them on the head when they sit down. Another thing a dog doesn’t do is get up and just go to the bathroom. For the most part, any time a dog wants to go outside they need some assistance from you to open the door for them. This is important because you know when they want to listen, and when they don’t want to listen. It may have helped that I promised my dog we would get some vanilla ice cream when we had finished…
3. Dogs Don’t Understand Grammar
Dogs can detect tone, volume, and pitch pretty well. However, they don’t get offended by misspelled words. Dogs also don’t have to understand the difference between the usage of an Oxford Comma, or a Semicolon. They sit still and focus solely on the material, and not on the grammatical errors. Although grammar is important, the focus on content and whether the piece’s ideas mesh can be addressed when you don’t need to focus on being grammatically sound.
When you proofread to a dog you don’t worry about anything that will make you nervous, but rather you relax and focus on the parts of your piece that need work. These are my suggestions why reading to a dog may benefit your writing, now it is up to you to give it a try!