My dog is smarter than your dog! Really?

Most dog professionals today point to a book, The Intelligence of Dogs, written by Stanley Coren, Phd. as the definitive guide on canine intelligence. Among the 110 breeds studied, several popular breeds stood out as quickly learning commands and performing those commands 95 percent of the time. The smart ones?

• Border Collie

• Poodle

• German Shepherd

• Golden Retriever

• Doberman Pinscher

And, larger dogs are believed to have a better memory than small dogs.

One particular Border Collie, Chaser, is thought of as the smartest dog ever. Over her lifetime, Chaser had learned over 1,000 words and could differentiate between types of toys.

One thing which is universally true about dogs, they learn commands much faster when they have to use their nose. A promise of a reward (treat) is just part of the process. At the shelter, we like to hold a treat inside our closed hand and then let the dog smell that it is there. But, they don’t get the treat until they listen to and perform the command. I will readily admit that I give in too easily.

There is a downside to all of this. Smarter dogs require more exercise; both body and mind. They can easily become bored, frustrated and act out if the owner does not challenge them mentally. This is often demonstrated through spiteful urinating or chewing when left alone for long periods of time.

Since by now you are probably wondering, this group of dogs require constant repetition for them to remember simple commands.

• Bulldog

• Chow Chow

• Bassett Hound

• Pekenese

• Mastiff and Beagle (tie)

Picking a dog breed that best fits your lifestyle is the most important quality of all.

Gary Cameron is the dog warden at the Pickaway County Wright-Poling Dog Shelter, who writes a monthly newsletter/column published in The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.

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