A few weeks ago, a report that appeared in the journal Learning & Behavior noted that dogs are no more unique than other animals in terms of intelligence.
The report stated that the authors of this study, Stephen Lea and Britta Osthaus, both form Great Britain, discovered that while dogs are intelligent and trainable to do tasks, they are not “super smart” as what was believed in compared to other animals that are similar in nature.
They compared the intelligence of wolves, cats, chimpanzees, dolphins, horses and pigeons. What was found was “dog cognition does not look exceptional.” (A direct quote from Stephen Lee, who did admit that he is more of a cat person that a dog fancier!)
Of course, this report spread pretty fast to those that love and admire dogs, either as pets of just for their desire for the so-called “(Wo)Man’s best friend” part of their lives. People who have dogs (one or many) will speak out for their fido to state “My dog is so smart, it ain’t funny!!” or something to that effect. Some of these dog owners will go on to prove to you or to anyone that is within earshot, that their pup(s) can do simple tricks such as the standard roll-over/play-dead/fetch-the-stick variety, but can also do other things such as bark a number of specific times when prompted, will run around in clockwise and/or counterclockwise circles on command, open doors, and other sorts of tasks that are not necessarily “stupid pets tricks”, but nothing that would be worth writing home about!
People have been owning dogs since the beginning of time. There are countless stories, tales (or “tails”), epics, or various lies and untruths that have been passed down the ages that center around dogs. The media was all over the place when it came to dogs, first in movies from Rin-Tin-Tin, Petey-Peat, to Lassie. TV came around to feature the for noted collie that became a staple on Sunday night television for decades, as well as other dogs, some remembered and other long forgotten. Social media made some dogs popular with enough celebrity status that can be rivaled (to a point) to Lassie and the rest of the curs that previously appeared on the big or little screen.
Anyone who lives in a domestic-type area will have others living nearby who has a dog, and will see those neighbors walking their pup up and down the street in nearly all parts of the calendar day. Some will start off at dawn to walk their dogs. Middle days is also a popular time to see Rover on a leash. Late nights will have dog walkers out and about. One person in the area where this writer hangs his hat will see a person walking a Golden Retriever donning a headband with a LED light attached, leading the way through the darkness of the neighborhood sometimes between 11:00 PM and 1:00 AM.
If one went up to these owners of dogs to ask how smart is their pup, chances are that these folks will talk your ear off to say (brag?) that their dog can do anything and everything a dog can do among other things. Their dogs may not speak intelligence English or any other human-based language, but they can “speak” in their own right.
Of course, this is just one of those many scientific studies that tend to come and go when it comes to how people and animals behave themselves. There will be other journals that will release reports to either enhance the facts as stated, or will prove that the previous reports may not be totally on their mark as once perceived. These elements are just for those to discuss and debate about in person (such as while in a dog park), or through their favorite social media platforms out their in cyberspace.
For those of you out in Accessibly Live Off-Line land that are dog fans and owners, we give you a hearty salute. For the rest of you that feel that dogs are “OK” and that’s about it, then it’s up to you to wonder what the fuss is all about. Dogs are good for what they are just as long as one cleans up after their pup! You can curb your enthusiasm, but just curb your dog! The neighbors will appreciate it! So will this writer–and we are speaking to you, the late night light wearing Golden Retriever owner! (Get the message??)
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