Research shows canines can count, learn words
MONDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- According to accumulating research, the beloved family dog is really a toddler with a snout and tail.
"Dogs basically have the developmental abilities equivalent to a human 2-year-old," said dog expert Stanley Coren, who was scheduled to present recent canine research developments at the American Psychological Association annual meeting this week in Toronto.
The average dog can learn 165 words, although "super dog" Rico, a border collie, could understand 200 spoken words. Experts think some dogs can learn up to 250 words.
Dogs can count up to four or five and can correct you if you can't add one plus one.
One dog apparently learned to "read." Coren recounted the case of the canine who was able to "deliver" mail addressed to two girls, one with a short name and one with a long name. Although the owner thought the dog was actually reading, it turns out the canine was gauging the length of the name, not the individual characters, enabling him to deliver the mail to the right person.
Different breeds of dog differ in their intelligence, with border collies topping the list for working (instinctive) and obedience intelligence. The next six smartest are poodles, German shepherds, golden retrievers, Dobermans, Shetland sheepdogs and Labrador retrievers. (The third type of dog smarts is adaptive or problem-solving ability.)
"There are two extreme viewpoints when we talk about dogs," said Coren, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and author of numerous books on dogs including How to Speak Dog and How Dogs Think. "Some tend to think of dogs as if they are little human beings with fur coats. The other extreme is to think of dogs as if they're unthinking but programmable robots. My little beagle would then be a beagle-shaped bag, a biological equiv
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