What is a smart dog?
More than once I have heard a person say that their dog is dumb.
And, generally, he has said it because he did not pay attention to him at a specific moment or because he has suddenly started barking.
The theory of multiple intelligences
Surely you have heard the term multiple intelligences . This term was born from the need not to reduce the intelligence of an individual based on their ability to do a single thing.
Dogs also have multiple intelligences. For example, there are better in their body coordination, or in their ability to detect through the nose, or even when interacting with other dogs and people.
Dogs that learn words very quickly
You may have heard of dogs like Chaser or Rico . Dogs of the Border collie breed that rose to television fame, due to the large number of toys that they were able to differentiate.
It turns out that practically all dogs known to date, which are capable of learning our vocabulary in record time, are of the Border Collie breed.
A study that has evaluated the intelligence of dogs based on their ability to learn and remember words and concepts at full speed.
In the experiment, only dogs of the Border collie breed have participated.
What has been tested is whether this significant cognitive ability to learn toy names at full throttle has any bearing on the dog’s personality.
To clarify this, a test was given to the owners or guardians of the dogs, asking about aspects of the dog’s character. For example, if he was fearful, aggressive towards other dogs or people, or easily aroused, for example through play
The results show that the only relevant thing to affirm differences in the intelligence of dogs when it comes to learning words quickly, is their insatiable desire to play. This is what their families have assured.
What dog is playful?
By definition, the game is a reinforcing activity whose objective is to have fun, entertain oneself or improve oneself by exercising some capacity or skill.
In the case of dogs, the game can be divided into three main categories:
- Individual game: your dog plays alone in order to feel better. It is divided into two types:
- Play with an object : For example, when your dog starts playing with a stick or a ball on his own.
- Locomotor game: you have observed this game when your dog starts to run, jump or play in the water spontaneously.
- Play with other dogs: Play behaviors help dogs get to know each other, establish rules and improve their social and communication skills.
- I play with people: To play with a dog, it is best to use a stuffed animal, a motivator or a ball. That is, propose to play with an object . Object play allows the dog to use its mouth during interaction without harming its handler or guardian.
What happens if you don’t play with your dog?
It is undeniable that dogs that play improve their individual and social skills. In addition, the game is an engine for learning, as it is a powerful motivator of attention and thought.
Science has shown that playing with your dog has enormous benefits:
- It improves their cognitive and social abilities: such as, for example, their ability to control themselves.
- It makes him enormously happy by regulating the bond with his handler: dogs that are petted and flattered during play feel more secure in their relationship with their guardian, and have less need to seek contact and attention. Spending a few minutes a day playing with your dog reduces the likelihood of separation anxiety.
When does a dog stop being playful?
Surely you have heard the frade that dogs calm down with age. Something like that around 2 or 3 years old they mature and their play needs decrease.
The truth is that between 4 months and 2-3 years of age, dogs are in the period of maximum physical power, something equivalent to human adolescence. Dogs of this age greatly enjoy long hours of play with other dogs in the park and seem never to tire. Also, at home, they can be destructive and demanding, if we are not able to put a stop to them and help them to disconnect.
How can I calm a playful dog?
Rules and limits are the key. These are necessary to regulate the social relationship and coexistence.
A playful dog is a learning sponge that you can teach endless things taking advantage of this motivation. And this is just great. But power without control is useless. Among all this learning you must include your dog’s ability to disconnect and turn off the “switch”.
For this, coherence is your best ally. If you say it’s over, you must not throw the ball again.
Fugazza, C. et al. 2022. A comparison of personality traits of gifted word learner and typical border collies. Animal Cognition, 1-8
Horváth, Z. et al. 2008. Affiliative and disciplinary behavior of human handlers during play with their dog affects cortisol concentrations in opposite directions. Hormones and behavior, 54(1), 107-114.