The Maclean family from Christchurch have created a new resource booklet on how to teach your dog te reo Māori.
Teach Your Dog Te Reo is a 24-page pocket size book filled with fifteen key dog commands and a few dog training tips.
The idea came about when they took their seven-month-old puppy, Frankie, to puppy preschool. They were taken through an application process where one of the questions asked if their pet was bilingual.
The family then considered teaching their puppy another language and decided on te reo Māori.
Susi Maclean, the brains behind Teach Your Dog Te Reo, says, “None of us are fluent te reo speakers. My kids are fantastic with pronunciation but I certainly have a long way to go. We are all really interested, we all really care about it and we all just keep trying. Like many Kiwi families, we’re on the journey.”
She says te reo Māori has had a positive influence on children and by applying the same method to pets, owners can make a difference for the native language of Aotearoa.
“We thought we'll produce a little booklet of te reo phrases, maybe 15 commands you could learn to get your dog started in te reo and a few training tips. And so, we produced a book and the book's at the printers. We've got a bunch of pre-orders- it’s really exciting!”
The Macleans believe the resource could contribute to the normalisation of te reo Māori in the home and the community as well as deepening the commitment of whānau who already speak the language.
Well-behaved dogs are more than able to learn the same commands in two different languages– for instance, dogs who live with people who suffer from hearing loss can respond to sign language.