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Dogs have intelligence of a human toddler, says canine expert

Last Updated: Sunday, August 9, 2009 - 14:32

New Delhi: Your Border Collies may not be able to handle your finances but scientists claim that dogs, man`s best friend, have intelligence of 2.5 years old human toddler and can count and understand more than 150 words.
They use this intelligence to intentionally deceive their fellow dogs and people to earn their treats, canine researcher Stanley Coren said.

"Their stunning flashes of brilliance and creativity are reminders that they may not be Einsteins but are sure closer to humans than we thought," the researcher from the University of British Columbia in Canada said at the 117th annual convention of American Psychological Association in Toronto yesterday.

According to several behavioural measures, dogs` mental abilities are close to human child aged between 2-2.5 years, can count up to five and spot errors in computations.

The intelligence of canines is dependent on various factors including their breed, environment around them and training imparted by their handlers, he said.

"Border Collies are number one; poodles are second followed by German Shephards. Fourth on the list is Golden Retrievers; fifth Doberman; sixth Shetland Sheepdogs and
finally Labrador retrievers," the canine scientist said.

"There are three types of dog intelligence: instinctive (what the dog is bred to do), adaptive (how well the dog learns from its environment to solve problems) and working and obedience (the equivalent of `school learning`)," he said.

Coren said while average dogs can learn 165 words including signals, some "super dogs" can even learn up to 250 words, a capability found only among humans and language
learning apes.

In terms of mathematics, canines can count up to five and can spot errors in simple arithmetic operations.

Quoting four studies on spatial problem solving abilities of dogs, Coren said the canines can understand the location of valued items (treats), better routes in the environment like
fastest way to find a favourite chair and how to operate simple machines.

The American Psychological Association has more than 1.5 lakh members of psychologists, researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students.

Coren who authored the book `How Dogs Think` said, "During a play the canines are as successful in deceiving humans as we are in deceiving them."

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, August 9, 2009 - 14:32
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