Is Your Dog Su­per Smart?

Modern Dog - - FRONT PAGE -

Are some dogs smarter and eas­ier to train than others? “The first part is dif­fi­cult to an­swer be­cause in­tel­li­gence can

When Dr. Sophia Yin, a pioneer in force-free pos­i­tivere­ward-based train­ing, passed away in 2014, the world lost a tremen­dous ad­vo­cate for the hu­mane treat­ment of an­i­mals. Her legacy lives on, how­ever, not only in train­ing, be­hav­iour, and vet­eri­nary com­mu­ni­ties, but through the many lives she touched by help­ing peo­ple bet­ter un­der­stand an­i­mal be­hav­iour. A core group of her ded­i­cated em­ploy­ees stayed on af­ter her pass­ing to man­age the com­pany and con­tinue her work, and it re­mains an in­valu­able re­source. Through her web­site, dr­sophi­, where her free train­ing ad­vice and videos are still avail­able. Here we share a spot-on an­swer from Dr. Yin ad­dress­ing dog in­tel­li­gence. be mea­sured in many ways. But more im­por­tantly, smarter does not mean eas­ier to train. The eas­i­est dogs to train are those that are rel­a­tively calm and have a de­pen­dent per­son­al­ity so that they want to please you. Be­cause they have a fol­lower per­son­al­ity, they learn what you want de­spite the gaps in your train­ing and are happy to oblige. Dogs that are more in­de­pen­dent and con­se­quently could care less about ver­bal ku­dos have to be trained more me­thod­i­cally and with things that are ac­tu­ally mo­ti­vat­ing to them. When trained in a step­wise fash­ion you may not no­tice much dif­fer­ence in speed of learn­ing and they will ap­pear happy and will­ing to learn too. When you skip steps or use re­wards that the dog doesn't care about, these dogs come off as stubborn and will­ful. When you com­bine in­de­pen­dence with high en­ergy and arousal such as a Jack Rus­sell Ter­rier, plus a strong abil­ity to prob­lem-solve or te­nac­ity in get­ting to what they want, you can be in for a big strug­gle. If you're not a step ahead and sev­eral IQ points smarter, your cute puppy Ein­stein may de­velop into an evil ge­nius.”

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