Dogs can easily be trained to retrieve
Dog intelligence is the ability
of a dog to learn, to
think, and to solve problems.
trainers, owners, and researchers have as much (or more) difficulty agreeing
on a method for testing canine intelligence as they do for human
breeds, such as
Border Collies and
Golden Retrievers, are generally easier to
train than others, such as some
It is worth noting that these descriptions are relative to other dogs,
not relative to the world at large. The ability to learn and obey commands,
however, is not the only possible measurement of intelligence.
animals, which means that by nature they understand social structure and
obligations and are capable of quickly learning how to behave around other
members of the pack, whether dog or human. Adult canines train their young by
correcting them when they behave in an unacceptable manner (biting too hard,
eating out of turn, and so on) and reward them for acceptable behavior (by
playing with them, feeding them, cleaning them, and so on).
They are also den
animals, so that by nature they can easily learn behavior related to keeping the
den clean (such as
housebreaking), relaxing in an enclosed area (such as a
crate during travel or for training), and so on.
Some breeds have been selectively bred for hundreds or thousands of years for
the quality of learning quickly; in other breeds, that quality has been
downplayed in favor of other characteristics, such as the ability to track or
hunt game or to fight other animals. However, the capacity to learn basic
obedience - and even complicated behaviour - is inherent in all dogs. Owners
must simply be more patient with some breeds than with others.
Some people feel that the ability to learn quickly is a sign of
intelligence; others feel that it is a sign of blind subservience and that
the truly intelligent dogs are breeds such as
Siberian Huskies, who are not particularly interested in pleasing their
owners but who are fascinated with the myriad possibilities for escaping from
yards or catching and killing small animals - often figuring out on their own
numerous inventive and ingenious ways of doing both.
For example, some might say that
which are required to be obedient at all times, are not intelligent dogs because
they do not spend a lot of time figuring out new things to do. However, they
must learn a tremendous number of commands, understand how to act in a large
variety of situations, and recognize threats or dangers to their human
companion, some of which they might never before have encountered.
Some tests for intelligence involve the dog's ability to recognize and
respond to a large vocabulary; other tests involve their desire or ability to
respond to different situations. If you put a towel over a dog's head, is the
intelligent dog the one who pulls it off or is the intelligent dog the one who
sits and waits, figuring that humans do strange things from time to time and if
they put the towel on the dog's head there must be a reason for it? Just as with
humans, there is a wide variety of interpretations as to what makes a dog
Various studies have attempted to confirm the intelligence of dogs in a
rigorous manner. A recent example is
Juliane Kaminski's paper in
Science that demonstrated that
Border Collie, could learn over 200
words. Rico could
remember items' names for four weeks after last exposure (Kaminski eliminated
Clever Hans effect using strict protocols).
Rico was also able to interpret phrases such as "fetch the sock" in terms of
its component words (rather than considering the utterance to be a single word):
he could give the sock to a specified person.
Psychologist Kathy Coon ranked dog breeds by intelligence in her book
The Dog Intelligence Test based on a standardized intelligence test
Stanley Coren ranked dog breeds by intelligence in his book
The Intelligence of Dogs based on surveys of
| Alpha Roll
| Dog Attack
| Clicker Training
| Dog Collar
| Animal Communication
| Dog Communication
| Crate Training
| Dog Aggression
| Dog Trainer
| Dog Intelligence
| The Intelligence of Dogs
| Obedience School
| Obedience Training
| Operant Conditioning
| Prey Drive
| Dog Society
| Dog Whistle
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