That the dog is man’s best friend, this is nothing new for anyone. Whoever has a dog at home, knows what it is to always count on unconditional love and support. Anyone who loves dogs and has one knows how is the relationship with these animals. And he realizes that they not only understand what the owner means, but also the form and tone that they say things.
Much more than a simple companion, a dog can be trained for several things. From search and rescue, guides and even police officers. That is, it proves that these animals have great intelligence.
Previous studies have studied how non-human animals, such as chimpanzees, sea lions and rhesus monkeys, can learn words. And now a recent study has shown that some dogs learn the name of a new object after hearing it just four times. This was a skill that was thought to be restricted to human beings.
However, the researchers saw that the ability was not common among all dogs. It may be limited to some “talented” or highly trained dogs. So how do you know if your dog is a genius or not?
The study is simple and easy to do at home. Just follow the same steps made by the researchers and see if your pet can learn the names of the objects as quickly. And if your dog doesn’t have that ability don’t worry. The previous race or experience can influence this.
This new study was done with two dogs. A border collie called Whiskey, who knew 59 objects by name, and with a Yorkshire terrier named Vicky Nina, who knew 42 toys.
The researchers tested the animals’ knowledge of their toys by having them bring each one to them. And neither the owners nor the experimenters were able to see the toys so that this would not influence the choice of animals.
Since the animals really knew the name of all their toys, the researchers placed two new objects. They placed one at a time in the middle of a group of familiar toys.
In the test, Whiskey chose the new toy every time. Vicky Nina got 52.5% of the tests right. This percentage is slightly above chance.
In the second part of the study, the dogs saw a new toy, their name was said and then allowed to play with it. After four repetitions of the name of the two new toys, the dogs were asked to choose one of the two.
In this part of the test, no known toy was placed precisely to prevent the animal from choosing it. Especially because, if the dog knows the name of all the other toys he can choose the new one by exclusion.
The two dogs chose the new toy more often than chance could have predicted. This suggests that, in fact, they were learning the name of a new object very quickly. However, their memory declined considerably after 10 minutes. And after an hour she was almost gone.
This shows that learning needs greater reinforcement to be maintained.