Dog Intelligence. Brain dog size.
Learn about dogs

Dogs learn very fast when it is convenient for them. If they get something they like after a determined action, they will tend to repeat it; if not, it is more probable that they will abandon it.

 The learning theory is based on this principle; dogs have a very similar way of learning like us. We know for example, that if a child does something for the first time, like applauding for example, and we give him a candy right after the action, it is probable that he will do it again. Then the child will probably applaud with more enthusiasm letting us know that he has already learnt how to do it, after getting a candy for performing this action. If, on the contrary, we would have punished that same child for applauding or we would have simply ignored him while he was doing it, the most probable thing would have been that applause would have lasted only a short time and the child wouldn't have done it again in the future.


 It is suitable to consider that the things an adult human sees as a punishment, can be seem as a prizes by a child or a dog. If they want us to pay more attention to them, scolding them or even physically punishing them can look like a reward to them because, under their point of view, that is better than being ignored. Maybe that is the reason why so many children misbehave at the supermarket or some dogs do incorrect things when we have visitors at home.


Sometimes the dogs seem to be more intelligent that other domestic animals like cats, because they find the way to get what they want and also because they repeat the conducts for which they have received prizes in the past. However, the intelligence is not something easy to measure. Maybe the only thing that is happening is that dogs are good at communicating with us in a way that we can understand them.

 It is possible to train other animals, for example cats, pigs and even chickens, as well as we train dogs, but motivating them and finding a different way of communicating with them. Cats for example, are more independent than dogs, so they do not look for our approval.

  The wisdom of man is external: we file it in museums and libraries. On the contrary, the wisdom of the dog is inside of it, in the marrow of its bones, in its blood.

Donald Mc Caig, Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Men, 1997.

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