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Are Dogs Smart?

(June 10, 2010)

Are dogs smart? Are dogs intelligent? This is a question that is often asked but seldom answered. The fact is that dogs are really smart and intelligent. Domestic dogs show a major inclination towards social intelligence than most other species. Dogs respond to reinforcement and also observe and learn behaviors. Dogs prove that they are smart and intelligent from early stages of their lives. They learn to interact with different objects by trial and error over time. In fact, dogs tend to learn a lot of their intelligent behavior from mimicking human behavior.  Dogs also show a keen understanding of behaviors. Intelligent dogs have shown examples of hiding to deceive threats; this shows that dogs are smart enough to understand that some threats will not react or pursue the object if the object in question is out of sight. Dogs also understand the difference between friendly and hostile gestures. Their sense of smell also helps them perceive a friend or foe during interactions. Some dogs display their specialized olfactory system as they can smell even at cellular levels and also smell scents even a week old.

Dogs demonstrate social cognition to begin with, and once trained properly can react to certain phrases or words. A funny example has been portrayed in comics over the years where a dog flees when the words ‘vet’ or ‘bath’ are used. Dogs are also smart enough to learn acceptable behavior. The dog behavior in question is sometimes rewarded with a treat or petting, and the dog soon understands that this behavior is desirable and has good consequences.

Though dogs are intelligent and can be trained in many ways, they respond to hand signals more than actual words. Their keen sense of hearing helps them in many ways but their responses to hand signals have been recorded to be better than responses to verbal commands. The fact that dogs are smart and intelligent is also proven by the fact that they are trained easily to help people with disabilities. Guide dogs have been helping people with visual deficiencies for a long time. Dogs have also been trained to help people with other physical challenges with everyday activities.

There are quite a few breeds, but the smartest and most intelligent dog breeds are as follows: Border Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Doberman Pinscher, Shetland sheepdog, Rottweiler, Australian Cattle dog and the Poodle.
Submitted by N M on June 10, 2010 at 12:15


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