Category Archives: Dog’s intelligence

Dog Intelligence

Everyone’s always trying to determine how smart everyone else is. How smart are you? How smart are your children? How smart are animals? Is a dog smarter than a cat? And now, how smart is your puppy? And the answer is never simple. First, what kind of smarts are people talking about? There are now thought to be at least 7 different types of intelligence in humans: linguistic, logical, spatial, musical, kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal.

Attempts to measure intelligence are always thwarted by the test itself and its biological appropriateness to the species under test. If you design a test to measure intelligence, like escaping from an enclosure, how well an animal performs depends on certain physical characteristics like possessing dexterous paws or flexible limbs.

If the test relies on observation, those animals most well equipped visually will score highest [a hawk could read a newspaper at 25 yards, if only it could read]. And we shouldn’t be too cocky about our own intellectual powers. Dogs’ reading of body language and identification and interpretation of odors leaves us in the dust. We have superior language skills (linguistic intelligence) but dogs are better at understanding the tacit communication of body language. So who’s the overall winner in the communication department?

To rate intelligence between dogs is a fairer task than to compare intelligence between species. The task, however, is still one beset with intrinsic difficulties similar to those found when designing and conducting human-human comparative intelligence tests. How well we fare on IQ tests depends on our background, experiences, and training. How well a pup fares on a puppy IQ test depends on its experience and training, its physical and emotional capabilities, and on the test itself. To say that everyone’s a winner may sound a bit trite, in light of what I have just said, it’s not to far from the mark. Yet people still push for the answer. Who’s smart and who’s not. Well, for these few perseverant people, let’s look at the situation from a more empirical perspective. For people, there seems to be such a thing as raw intelligence: the ability to think one’s way out of a paper bag, so to speak – no prior experience, no lessons. The same may well be true in dogs.

When assessing the intelligence of pups, one has to bear in mind that intelligence in youngsters can be something of a moving target. Nerve cells in pups’ brains are not fully developed until 4 weeks of age and visual centers are not up to speed until 7-8 weeks of age. Some senses are not fully developed until some time between 4 and 8 weeks and adult coordination may not be attained until the juvenile period is reached.

These fundamentals influence the ability of the pup to learn and respond, making estimation of intelligence far from cut and dried. Pups that are properly stimulated during the early weeks of life develop faster and better. They become better problem solvers and thus appear (or actually are) more intelligent than their under-stimulated peers. So, to some extent, intelligence can be molded, and how well molded it has become depends on the age when you test the puppies. Any time before 8-weeks of age may be too young to tell how smart the pup will eventually be.

Testing between 8-weeks and 6-months will be limited by the pup’s physical ability. Remember, full muscular coordination is not present until about 6-months. If you were to compare a 4-month old pup with an adult using Frisbee catching as a test, the adult would be more likely to emerge superior. Puppies are all very smart at things that they need to do to survive.

Early in life, all a pup has to do is locate mom’s milk bar and find a warm place to sleep. At these tasks, it excels. As time passes, pups become learning sponges, soaking up all kinds of extraneous information for later use. At this stage they are like a computer that is downloading information and may not perform well on tests that involve motor responses (but how else do you test a pup’s intelligence?). But in time, after the full package has been downloaded, the pup is primed with requisite information, and is at least semi-capable of coordinating an appropriate response. At this time, intelligence testing and comparison of peers may be somewhat valid.

Puppy IQ Test

The puppy must be at least 12 weeks old and must have been in the home with its new owners for at least 4 weeks.

What you will need:

  • Flat collar on your dog
  • Training lead
  • Treats
  • Small can or bowl (like an empty coffee can or some other Container)
  • Towel, sheet or some fabric that can completely cover your puppy
  • Two light cardboard boxes, a sheet of cardboard, and two appropriately sized, light weights
  • Scissors to cut hole in cardboard

Test 1 – Observation Learning

Choose an activity that your puppy has seen you do before many times and that it enjoys e.g. going out for a short walk in the yard or ride in the car, getting dinner ready, or preparing for a clicker training session. Engage in the behavior in five stages, scoring 5 points for your puppy’s immediate understanding of your intentions (you take one step toward the door and it approaches you and looks enthusiastic or runs to an appropriate place, signaling its understanding). Score 0 for paying no attention at all while you complete the entire maneuver. Intermediate scores 1-4 are awarded for intermediate responses.

Test 2 – Problem Solving

Take an empty can and your puppy’s favorite food treat. Show your puppy the treat and then put the treat under the inverted can. Score the puppy’s attempts to obtain the food on a similar 0 to 5 scale. A score of 5 is awarded if the puppy obtains the food treat by knocking the can over and getting the treat within 15 seconds; score the pup 4 for obtaining the food treat within 15-30 seconds; score 3 for completing the task in 30-45 seconds, score 2 for a time of 45-60 seconds, score 1 for eventually getting the treat; score 0 for the pup giving up, losing interest, and walking off defeated.

Test 3 – Problem Solving

Throw a tea towel or the corner of a sheet over the pup so it is completely covered and observe its attempts to think its way out of the situation. Use the same scoring method as in Test 2 above.

Test 4 – Social Learning

Wait until your puppy is near you but is not engaged in any particular activity. Look directly into its eyes and smile. Hold this pose. If the pup comes towards you, this is an excellent result indicating good social learning: score 5. If the pup ignores you, score 0. Intermediate scores are assessed, as before, on a timed basis.

Test 5 – Short Term Memory

Show the pup a delicious food treat and allow him to watch you hide it under a tea towel. Then lift him up in your arms and walk around the room in a large circle before depositing him at least 6 feet from where the food is hidden. If he immediately goes to the food treat and finds it, score 5. If he shows no interest in the treat and doesn’t look for it, score him 0. Intermediate scores are awarded for his finding the treat within 30 seconds, 1 minute, 1-1/2 minutes, and 2 minutes.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Why We Love The German Shepherd Dog

Breed of the Month: Why We Love German Shepherds

It’s not easy to earn worldwide respect and admiration, yet one canine breed has accomplished just that.

Renowned for intelligence, physical prowess, and functionality, the German Shepherd Dog has developed into one of the most popular breeds across the globe, surpassed in popularity by only the Labrador retriever in the United States. This fact comes as little surprise to most German shepherd owners, who’ve witnessed this breed embody some of the most desirable traits any human or dog can offer, including loyalty and heroism.

The German Shepherd Dog first achieved international prominence following World War I, when soldiers returned home raving about the intelligence this breed displayed while serving as military messengers and rescue dogs. Since then, this breed has been both purposeful and beloved while occupying roles ranging from police and military service to household protection and devoted companionship.

Here are six reasons we adore German Shepherd Dog:

1. Noble Look

Sporting a domed forehead, long muzzle, erect ears, and bushy tail, German shepherds exude a handsome yet dignified appearance. They often come across as stately and self-confident. Moreover, the breed’s appearance offers tremendous diversity, as German shepherds have a variety of color combinations (black/tan, black/red, black/gray, etc.) and coat lengths ranging from short to long.

2. Remarkable Intelligence

German shepherds were bred specifically for intelligence, and the end result does not disappoint. Among the smartest of all canine breeds, German shepherds tend to be easily trainable, learning basic tasks with few repetitions and obeying commands with impressive regularity. In fact, German shepherds were ranked the third most intelligent breed by American Kennel Club judges. Their intelligence level explains their high degree of functionality (more on this later), as well as their success within the entertainment industry. Rin-Tin-Tin – a German shepherd who lived from 1918 to 1932 – remains one of the most notable canine movie stars of all-time, having appeared in 27 Hollywood films.

3. Unparalleled Functionality

It’s safe to say German shepherds like to have a purpose in life. Originally bred in Germany as sheep herders, they demonstrated the versatility necessary to transition into many other occupations. Today the German shepherd’s combination of intelligence and strength makes him the preferred breed for many lines of work: military and police service, search-and-rescue missions, assistance for disabled individuals, and household protection.

4. Heroism

This courageous breed deserves to be commended for the many heroic feats these canines have contributed through service to society. German shepherds have been responsible for loyal military service during times of war, for alerting deaf people when the doorbell has rung, and for locating missing children. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, German shepherds were utilized for search-and-rescue attempts amidst the rubble of the fallen World Trade Center.

5. Family Appeal

Under the right circumstances, German shepherds can make excellent household pets. In addition to being intelligent and trainable, this breed tends to be highly sociable and fairly energetic in nature. They serve as proud companions once loyalty develops. Perhaps the ideal guard dog, ever-devoted German shepherds often become protective of their beloved family members, as they’re not particularly fond of strangers. Their medium-to-large size (50 to 90 pounds) means they can provide adequate family protection without proving cumbersome around the house.

6. Physical Prowess

An impressive physical specimen, the German shepherd boasts an extremely muscular physique. This breed is like the LeBron James of the canine family, possessing a rare blend of strength and agility. The German shepherd’s strong frame becomes raised during times of excitement and lowered when the canine is moving at a quick pace. They can reach top speed quickly, yet round corners with ease. Because of their physical attributes, German shepherds are well-suited for athletic competitions like agility trials and obstacle courses.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Vet Reveals How to Communicate With Your Dog

 

 

Do you understand what your dog is saying? Veterinarian Dr. Gary Weitzman believes the trick to canine communication is customizing your behavior to each individual dog. Weitzman is the president of the San Diego Humane Society and has worked with thousands of stray dogs over the past 25 years, according to the Associated Press.

“Dogs read lips and body language.” Weitzman told the source. “They can see your facial expression. Some animals respond to how we look, not what we say. Their inherent ability to read facial expressions is a whole lot better than ours.”

For example, pet owner Jerry Ericksen has two dogs with different needs. According to the Associated Press, Buster – Ericksen’s 90-pound blind boxer – needs help navigating, which is accomplished by speaking in a clear voice and clapping until Buster can find the source of the noise. On the other hand, Forest is Ericken’s pit bull who was abused by a previous owner. He responds better to a gentle voice.

According to the American Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, dogs reveal how they are feeling through subtle body language cues like the intensity of their gaze and whether the mouth is open or closed. So pay close attention to your canine to understand what it is trying to say.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

A University Study Proves The Intelligence of Dogs

The next time you wonder if your dog understands you,  think about this article! – Diana Davidson, WestsideDogNanny

In a recent study, published in Springer’s journal, Animal Cognition  concluded:

“Dogs can learn, retain and replay actions taught by humans after a short delay.

The research, conducted by Claudia Fugazza and Adám Miklósi, from …University in Hungary,…. provides the first evidence of dogs’ cognitive ability to both encode and recall actions.

The researchers said:

……Domestic dogs….learn by observing humans and are easily influenced by humans in learning situations. 

Living in human social groups may have favored their ability to learn from humans……

Eight adult pet dogs were trained by their owners with the ‘Do as I do’ method and then made to wait for short intervals (5-30 seconds) before they were allowed to copy the observed human action, for example walk around a bucket or ring a bell…………..

The test (results) show that dogs are able to reproduce familiar actions and novel actions after different delays… as long as ten minutes; novel tasks after a delay of one minute.

This ability was seen in different conditions, even if they were distracted by different activities during the interval.

The authors concluded: “The ability to encode and recall an action after a delay implies that the dogs have a mental representation of the human demonstration. ..(and) suggests the presence of a specific type of long-term memory in dogs.

This would be so-called ‘declarative memory,’ which refers to memories which can be consciously recalled, such as facts or knowledge.”  END  To read the article in full  ..visit sciencedaily.com

I believe that dogs have the cognitive ability to  recall and complete tasks as discussed by the researchers…   

I base this on years of observing dogs in all sorts of familiar and unfamiliar surroundings, under happy and stressful conditions.

Time and again they would adapt,  perform tasks without prodding, helping their guardians who have physical challenges and enjoying life as well

The point is that this study is just another bit of evidence supporting how special our dogs are

What do you think?

While you give that some thought we are being summoned by our “special 3″… they are ready for park time and treats.. so dutifully off we go…makes me wonder who is ‘teaching’ who in our pack ? 🙂

till next time

MR Bruno

Adopt a Dog- Save a SPECIAL Life

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372