Thursday, June 10, 2010

Smart Toys

Researchers have been testing dog intelligence for some time now, and they rate these breeds among the most intelligent:

1. Border Collies
2. Poodles
3. German Shepherds
4. Golden Retrievers
5. Dobermans
6. Shetland Sheepdogs
7. Labrador Retrievers

How smart is your dog?

Even if he is not among these top-ranked breeds, your dog could be smarter than you think.

Research shows that most dogs understand more than 150 words and can count up to four or five. Your dog is as smart as a two or three year-old child. He can learn basic commands, he knows how to express himself, and he picks up on the emotions of the people around him.

Yes, dogs are smart. Which is why they like smart toys that challenge their intellectual problem-solving skills. These "puzzle" toys make your dog think, and in general they will hold his interest much longer than many other types of toys.

Some of the best puzzle toys release treats to reward your dog for his ingenuity. These interactive toys will keep a dog busy and happily entertained for hours, trying to figure out how to release the treats.

I recently came upon a new treat-dispensing smart toy for medium to large size dogs. It's called Linkables™.

The great thing about this toy is that it is adaptable. As your dog learns how to solve the puzzle, you can continue to increase the difficulty of the challenge by adding more "links" to the toy. This helps keep your dog interested because you can give him increasingly difficult puzzles to solve. This is a durable, heavy-duty toy, and the thick rubber material massages your dog's gums as he chews.

Yes, dogs are smart. That's the good news. The bad news is that they often use that intelligence to "trick" their humans into giving them what they want - whether it's an extra treat, attention, extra playtime or some tasty table scraps. Dogs learn how to get what they want from their humans, just like young kids do with their parents. In some cases, giving in to your dog's manipulation may not always be the best choice, so take a moment to stop and use your best judgment.

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