Canine: Behavior and Intelligence

Samantha Parker
Writing, Zoology, Animal Caretaker
Canine: Behavior and Intelligence
Canines are a rather fascinating species and have so many little quirks about them that the learning never seems to end. Dogs in particular have varying personalities and traits that determine their behavior as well as how the dog was raised. Just how smart are dogs? What does some of your dog’s behavior mean? That all depends on their breed, age, and a dog in general.
Dogs have a wonderful cognition. Cognition is a dogs ability to acquire information. It has to do with storing information once it has been acquired. Retrieving said information, combining information, comparing information, and using this information in new situations. Dogs can also easily comprehend new skills.
A dogs advanced memory skills is what makes it so easy to train them. Best responding to hand signals, dogs can read a humans body language very well so they can react appropriately in certain situations. Dogs also understand voice tones and commands. Dogs usually can figure out how their humans are feeling and act appropriately.
Dogs can also engage in deception which is also known as “theory of mind”. These adorable funny creatures can deceive humans and other animals to get rewards, and they are very good at it. According to studies, dogs have the mind set of a 2 to 2 1/2 year-old human child. This means that dogs have the ability to do basic math as well as being able to count!
Problem solving skills also play a huge role in a dog’s life. Problem-solving helps them learn to adapt to new surroundings, people, and situations. Being able to retain information about past experiences in certain situations will help prevent them from making the same mistakes again just as humans do. A dog’s intelligence is broken down into three parts. The first being instinctive, which is all about using their instincts to do the job they were bred or born to do. The second part is adaptive which includes problem-solving abilities. Finally, the third is work and obedience. Work and obedience is basically the equivalent of schoolwork and learning. This has to do with manners, how rough to play with other dogs and animals, how to act around humans, basic training, command learning, as well as basic growth and development.
While intelligence may vary from breed to breed, on average dogs can learn up to 165 words including hand signals. Now dogs that are in the top 20% of the intelligence charts can learn up to 205 words including hand signals and are labeled as “super dogs”.
Dogs learn basic behavior from their mother’s at a young age. From the moment they are born they never stop learning while they are with their mother’s. Every day is a new adventure and a new mess to make! A real noticeable behavior about puppies is when they nip. Usually this is during play time but sometimes it can turn into a problematic behavior as they get older. Usually their mother’s teach them to eventually stop this habit and when it is okay to do so, but sometimes it is a trait that has issues going away. This is something that should be stopped before the puppy get too old.
Sometimes dogs will bite out of anxiety, fear, or simple aggression. It is always good to keep an eye on your dog and keep track of how they behave in certain situations. Something can possibly be done to help your dog as well as prevent anything from going awry. Circling is another behavior that some dogs may experience but sometimes this could mean that there is something wrong with the health of your pup. Ear infections often cause nonstop circling in dogs and can be fixed easily by visiting your vet to get the proper medication. Ear infections which include symptoms of circling often happen to the breed Bull Terriers. In older dogs, circling could mean something more severe such as idiopathic vestibular syndrome. If you notice something is slightly off with your dog, you should go to a veterinarian as soon as possible to get your best friend checked out.

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Word Count: 715

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