Shocking news for dog lovers: Canines aren’t as smart as we think

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If you’re a dog lover, you might want to sit down for this. Maybe pour yourself a nice glass of wine and take deep breaths.

Dogs are not all that smart.

Oh, they’re smart, just not exceptionally so. They probably are no more intelligent than cats, and well, we’re just going to say it, not as smart as some other animals.

We know, it’s hard to wrap our heads around. Fido, after all, knows when it’s time to be fed and which toy is which, and he certainly knows who the good boy is — yes he does, he does. But when it comes to doing things like using tools or solving a complex puzzle, it seems dogs are just average.

That’s not the cat lovers of the world talking. It’s the conclusion of British researchers Stephen Lea, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Exeter, and Britta Osthaus, a senior lecturer in the School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology at Canterbury Christ Church University, who reviewed hundreds of dog studies that had been done over decades.

The results of the study were published in the journal Learning & Behavior. Lea and Osthaus looked at the previous studies with a discerning eye and concluded that while researchers had pinpointed dogs’ abilities to be trained at many tasks, they hadn’t shown that dogs have exceptional intelligence.

Dogs aren’t like crows, who can work out an answer to a puzzle, dropping a ball to trigger the release of a treat, for example, or using a stick to release a hinged door. Canines aren’t as clever as the chimpanzee, who picks just the right length of a slender branch to use in retrieving termites from deep within a nest.

Dogs have an amazing sense of smell, are loyal to the core and highly lovable, but the attributes assigned them by researchers and proud owners alike are more a fixture of their ability to be trained, rather than a reflection of a towering intellect

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Lea said he kept seeing a number of papers about the remarkable things dogs could do, but he realized almost everything attributed to dogs were things that many other animals could do, too.

“It made me quite wary that dogs were special,” Lea told the paper.

Lea and Osthaus focused on

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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