Ever wondered if there’s more to your pooch than meets their adoring eye? Whilst they might face absolute befuddlement at the sniff of their own reflection and can seemingly chase their tail for hours on end without realising that hey, that’s YOUR OWN TAIL, does this mean that they’re destined for a life of stupidity? Or secretly, are they actually a four-legged genius, wrapped up in sheep’s clothing?
Here are 5 simple ways to work out if Fido could give Albert Einstein a run for his money…
- Do they prick up their ears when you speak?
Turns out that dogs can actually learn human vocabulary. Who would have thought it?
According to Dr. Stanley Coren, an expert in canine intelligence, the average dog can understand around 165 words, possibly more with a good level of training.
If you need further proof, check out this clever little collie. Researchers indicate that Chaser used a process called ‘inference’ to learn just over 1000 words. This is essentially the same way in which children learn language. Not bad for your furry friend, eh?
- They get into trouble and test you
You know the story. Chewing on things they shouldn’t, dragging rubbish through the house like there’s no tomorrow and generally just behaving like a right little scallywag.
Researchers from the University of Vienna decided to design a test to see if they work out when naughty pups are most likely to disobey their owners.
They placed their favourite bowl of food five feet in front of them and told the pooches to lie down. In an unsurprising finding, the dogs were most likely to go for said food when their owners turned their backs. But get this, when the owners were facing them, the pups could tell whether they were watching TV, reading a book, or even paying attention to them, and so stayed lying down in a most reliable manner.
Meaning that your pooch will pay attention to whether or not you are paying attention to them. Clever little trouble-makers.
- Are they drawn to the backs of your legs?
If they seem to find your legs an idyllic place to hide behind when out and about, this could well indicate a sense of fear. You may find this slightly reminiscent of a child and there’s good reason behind this.
Research into canine behaviour indicates that pups interact with their owners in the same way that children do with their parents, which is pretty clever behaviour.
Talk about a right fur baby.
- Does their yawn imitate yours?
No, you’re not boring your four-legged friend*. In the same way that humans ‘catch’ their yawns, the same can be said of dogs. According to researchers, this is a basic display of empathy.
So next time you yawn, catch sight of Fido to see if he does the same thing. If he does? He’s an emotionally intelligent pup.
*There is a chance you could be boring them. But hey, that’s still pretty intelligent behaviour, hey?
- Play the towel game
Grab yourself a towel, a stopwatch, oh and your canine companion.
Let your pup smell the towel and then place it on his head. Take your stopwatch and record how long it takes before the acknowledgement and removal of said towel*.The longer the time, the more intelligent, generally speaking.
*If your poor pup still hasn’t got a clue what’s going on after 120 seconds, be a good owner and take the towel off for him. Then provide a treat or two.