Thursday 16 April 2020

Amazing work of a US speech expert who has taught her dog to ‘talk’

Christina Hunger is a US-based speech-language pathologist who is using her expertise to better understand her dog’s needs, with amazing results.

Using a device usually used with children who aren’t able to functionally communicate via verbal speech, it provides a soundboard with icons representing different words, which are said out loud when pushed. Christina introduced the board to her Catahoula/Blue Heeler mix, Stella, and with patience and training saw an incredible result.

Starting with the button for ‘outside’, Christina pressed this before opening the door each time the pair were going out. Within a few weeks Stella was aware of what was happening, looking at the button in expectation, and soon afterwards she pressed herself.  Her vocabulary grew to include more words, such as eat, water, play, walk, no, come, help, bye and love you.

          Stella with her button board for communication © photo courtesy of Christina Hunger

Christina worked with Stella every day, and instead of rewarding her with a treat for using a button, she acknowledged Stella’s communication and responded accordingly. “Stella’s voice and opinions matter just as our own do” she said.

Over time Stella has learned to communicate in increasingly sophisticated ways, by joining up words together to express herself. Moving from “no” if she didn’t want to do something, to “come” if she wanted Christina to follow her to another room, and even saying ‘bye’ to visitors as they were leaving! Two-word phrases used by Stella include “walk no” if she wasn’t taken for a walk, “eat play” for her toy filled with food. When she was not fed after repeatedly asking for her food, Stella was most disapproving: ‘love you no’ she told Christina!

Demonstrating Stella’s remarkable grasp of words shouldn’t be a surprise, as research has shown that a canine’s cognitive ability equates with a two-year-old child, with an understanding of between 165-250 words.

I’m sure many of us would love to know more about what our animal companions are really thinking, even though we think we know them very well!

Follow Christina and Stella at :

Thanks to Christina and to Chronicle - The APDT Chronicle of the Dog magazine

Wednesday 8 April 2020

Meet Glassboxx, our latest ebook vendor

If you prefer your Hubble & Hattie books in digital format, you'll already know how easy and convenient eBooks are. If you're new to eBooks and digital publications, and want to find out more, why not take a look at our FAQs page, and How and where to buy eBooks page? This answers the most common questions, including what you need to access eBooks and apps; how to buy them, etc.

With all the tech involved, it is, perhaps, not surprising that Apple, Amazon, and Google have the lion's share of the market. But, in this age of 'big data,' marketing algorithms, and digital footprints, many people prefer to avoid these big data companies: not that easy with eBooks.

Glassboxx: something a little different

We're always looking for new ways to get our eBooks and books in front of as many interested people as we can, so say "Hi' to Glassboxx, our new eBook vendor. Glassboxx, from the clever people at Firsty, is a new way to buy and read eBooks, perfect for those looking to avoid the 'Big Three,' or hoping to encourage a more diverse consumer environment.

A one-stop-shop for eBooks and audio books, Glassboxx offers a free app for iOS and Android devices (a desktop version will be available soon), and it lets us serve you with digital content securely, from the cloud, and on all your favourite devices.

Buying with Glassboxx

Click the Glassboxx links to buy
Buying an eBook with Glassboxx is easy. When you click a Glassboxx link on our site, wherever they appear, you'll be directed to the appropriate app store for your device, so that you can downloaded the reader app: it will ask you for an email address to use for your Glassboxx account, take your payment details, and that's pretty much it! All your current and future Glassboxx purchases will be available in this account.

Our books can be found
under Veloce
Hubble & Hattie titles are listed under our 'parent' imprint, Veloce Publishing, so if you search 'Veloce' in Glassboxx, you'll find all our eBooks and audio book there.

The app clearly labels each publication to show the format, and, because all your books are stored in the cloud, once you've downloaded a book to one device, to quote Glassboxx;
Read to your heart’s content in the remotest, furthest-flung corners of the earth, where internet penetration is a mere pipe-dream
… or, as we like to call it, Dorset! If you later change your e-reader, your eBooks will still be available, on any device or platform that has the Glassboxx app installed. Perfect!

The app is very easy to use, and is fully featured, letting you make full text searches, create bookmarks, change the font size, use a dyslexic-friendly font, and change colours for easier reading. Glassboxx also provides an audio player, so you can listen to audio books, too.

Get a STAYINANDREAD discount with Glassboxx!
Because Glassboxx does things differently to other vendors, we can offer things we'd otherwise be unable to. For instance, if you purchase one of our eBooks or audio books through Glassboxx, you can use our STAYINANDREAD discount! Simply add your code during checkout!

We'll be adding all of our eBooks to Glassboxx, so pop back regularly to see if your favourite Hubble & Hattie book is available in bytes and bits, rather than paper and ink!