Friday, November 27, 2009

How Smart Is Your Dog?

The other day my friend and I were talking. She pointed to a neighbor's dog - a very happy Golden Retriever - and said, "That dog is dumb as a box of rocks."

Well, I don't think Golden Retrievers are dumb at all. I think they are generally happy dogs and they can at times have "selective hearing". I actually love Goldens. They are one of my favorite breeds. And they can be very smart.

Some dogs are smarter than others (just like people)!

A pet writer, Heather Stern, said, "Studies have shown that the average dog possesses the intelligence of a 3-year-old child."

That is interesting. That level of intellect corresponds to an ability to learn basic commands, to express themselves (not always clearly), and to interpret some emotions of those around them.

Some breeds certainly display character traits much more advanced than this. Herding breeds for example appear to understand and function in complex thinking patterns. It's clear that many dogs understand certain words, for example recognizing toys on command. Perhaps talking to your dog isn't quite as crazy as it sounds.

Some dogs never get the whole fetch thing. Other dogs love puzzles. In fact, some dogs aren't happy unless they have something to do (e.g. something to herd or fetch) or something to figure out. That is one reason there has been a big trend toward toys that are puzzles.

Wondering if this is similar to the older generation keeping their minds active with crossword puzzles and other games?

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