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Are dogs smarter than a fifth grader?
Every owner thinks that their pooch is the smartest on the block, however some may not understand just how knowledgeable dogs really are. According to Animal research, dogs have the ability to comprehend and learn up to 165 human words.
Dr. Stanley Coren, a canine intelligence expert, says that dogs may even be capable of learning more words, though the key to having a savvy pooch is consistent training and reinforcement.
Owners need to get on the same page as to what they are going to call certain things, Coren tells the news outlet. For example, if you call your dog's Wellness Super5Mix kibble "dinner" and your wife calls its "supper," it will most likely confuse the dog, making it not understand what each word means. However, once everyone gets on board and starts calling meal time the same thing, the dog should start to perk up every time the word is mentioned.
Certain dogs have far surpassed the number of words most canines are thought to know, giving them a sort of celebrity status. In 2001, Rico, a border collie, went on a German TV game show and proved that he was capable of understanding 200 words – he was then studied at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and scientists found he could learn new words and remember them a month after not hearing them. Rico's skills were trumped in 2004 when Chaser, another border collie, was found to know and understand 1,022 different words.
If you're interested in teaching your dog some new words, the best way to do so is to start with words that link to objects or certain behaviors. Starting with simple words like "sit," "walk" or "car," as they'll be better able to understand these words over a phrase like "you're so handsome!" During training, make sure to have treats like Greenies for Dogs or Sweet Potato Rawhide to give to your dog as a reward when it understands a new word. Start by saying the word, then point to the object and repeat. Although some pooches may get the concept of a phrase, most dogs will respond better to a simple request.
Dogs have also been found to follow certain body language or gestures as a means of communication. The old adage, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks," isn't true. However, it is easier to begin training a dog from when it is a pup. Certain breeds are known for their high level of intelligence such as poodles, German shepherds, golden retrievers and Dobermans.