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Your furry friend is expensive!
Time

NEW YORK—You think your dog is pretty smart. But is your pet smart enough to digest Leo Tolstoy and Jane Austen?

The folks behind Audible, the Amazon-owned company and largest seller of narrated books, want your dog to listen to Anna Karenina, Pride and Prejudice and other classic literature. The company is teaming up with famed Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan on an aptly named new service called Audible For Dogs.

The pitch to pet owners isn’t to turn Fido into a canine scholar but rather to keep him calm and happy when you leave for work.

“I’m always looking for ways where people don’t feel guilty, worried, (or) stressed when they leave their dogs alone,” Millan told USA TODAY.

Millan says the separation anxiety your pet feels can result in bad behavior: incessant barking that disturbs neighbors, destruction of furniture or pee in the wrong place. Or you dog could just end up downright depressed.

“Dogs are social animals, so they need to engage with someone,” he says. With Audible, “people can feel that the dog has company.”

While most dog owners will indeed go to great lengths to ensure the happiness of their four-legged family members, you can’t help but approach Audible For Dogs with a healthy dose of skepticism. So is Audible barking up the wrong tree?

One immediate question: Why not just play music, or turn on the radio or TV when you leave the house?

“It’s the consistency of a tone that allows the dog to stay in that (relaxed) frame of mind,” is Millan’s answer. It’s why meditation works, he says, and it is why Audible works.

Audible cites a 2015 academic study at Hartpury College in the U.K. that showed that listening to audiobooks rather than music reduced stress in the animals. In follow-up research conducted with 100 dog participants through Millan’s Dog Psychology Center, 76% of dog owners who played audiobooks for their dogs reported an increase in calm, relaxed behavior in their pets over a four-week period.

Millan recommends you exercise your dog and get them in a relaxed state before you play an audiobook. If possible he also advises owners to listen with their dogs at first and to experiment with different titles.

Millan and the team at Audible are curating audiobooks from an Audible catalog with more than 350,000 titles and audio…