Animals have been submitted as applicants to suspected fraudulent educational establishments to prove the lack of checks these institutions go through before issuing diplomas and degrees, with obviously no studying, or examinations taking place. Fortunately it seems that for us in the UK, we only have to worry about feline hypnotherapists rather than dogs with masters degrees in business studies. However if you’ve ever looked into a cat’s eyes, you can understand where their coming from!
Many dogs instinctively know when their owner usually comes home from work every day, or what time they can expect their regular meals. But does this mean that dogs perceive time the same way humans do?
There isn’t a great deal of research specifically about how dogs perceive time, however it’s possible to make several assumptions based on memory research in other species, such as rodents, birds and primates. William Roberts, a researcher in the field of animal intelligence made some remarkable conclusions regarding animal memories and anticipation. He concluded that animals are “stuck in time” meaning that, without the sophisticated abilities it takes to perceive time, like true memories, animals only live in the present. Roberts thinks animals are “stuck in time” because they can’t mentally “time travel” backward and forward. Ceaser Milan has a similar philosophy when he states that dogs ‘live in the moment’.
The story goes that in the thirteenth-century, Prince Llywelyn the Great had a palace at Beddgelert in Caernarvonshire, and as the Prince was a keen hunter, he spent much of his time in the surrounding countryside. He had many hunting dogs, but one day when he summoned them as usual with his horn, his favourite dog Gelert didn’t appear, so regretfully Llywelyn had to go hunting without him.
A border collie called Chaser has been taught the names of 1022 items – more than any other animal. She can also categorise them according to function and shape, something children learn to do around the age of 3.
John Pilley and Alliston Reid demonstrated their own border collie bitch, Chase, learned the names of 1022 objects, over three years, – no upper limit is apparent – they stopped training the dog after three years due to their time constraints, not because the dog could not learn more names.
Dog intelligence is the ability of a dog to learn, think, and solve problems. Dog trainers, owners, and researchers have as much difficulty agreeing on a method for testing canine intelligence as they do for human intelligence. One specific difficulty is confusing a breed’s genetic characteristics and a dog’s obedience training with intelligence.
Stanley Coren, a psychologist defined three aspects of dog intelligence.
Instinctive intelligence refers to a dog’s ability to perform the tasks it was bred for, such as herding, pointing, fetching, guarding, or supplying companionship.
Adaptive intelligence refers to a dog’s ability to solve problems on its own.
Working and obedience intelligencerefers to a dog’s ability to learn from human.
He ranked many breeds registered by the American and Canadian kennel clubs based on Working and obedience intelligence, and other studies have generally agreed with his findings.
However like with people there are bright and not so bright dogs within a breed and many dogs don’t fit into a specific breed group anyway. But consider that although there might be some kudos in owning a very intelligent dog, if your dog is very bright it’ll need a lot of mental stimulation to remain content. On the other hand if your ever loving doggy companion is in the ‘fair’ category or ‘lower’ (politically correct to the last!) you might want consider him/her ‘stubborn’ or having ‘ a will of his/her own’ rather than a bit ‘ Tim Nice But Dim’.
The world’s oldest known breed of domesticated dog is the saluki, believed to have emerged in 329 BC. Saluki dogs were revered in ancient Egypt, being kept as royal pets and being mummified after death. There are carvings found in Sumer (present-day southern Iraq) which represent a dog, closely resembling a saluki, which date back to 7000 BC.