Category Archives: smart dogs

How to Outsmart a Dog or Cat

By Linda Cole

Over the years, I’ve had plenty of conversations with non-pet owners telling me why dogs and cats aren’t intelligent. I’d love to know where they get their facts from, because there have been many times I’ve racked my brain trying to outsmart a pet. We may be smarter, but there are times when a pet’s intelligence – or their persistence – presents us with a challenge.

The Window Screen Incident

I love the smells of spring, and when nighttime temperatures stay in the upper 60′s, I leave my screened windows open day and night. It’s not clear why my cat Bailey waged war on my bedroom window screens, but it quickly became a challenge to stop her. Bailey is persistent like any feline, but she takes it to a whole new level. She had already destroyed one screen in the middle of the night. I caught her as she was going through it, and begrudgingly closed the bedroom window. I opened the other window since an inspection of the screen found no holes or defects. Problem solved? Nope! Bailey started in on that screen. So I closed the window just enough to keep her out, or so I thought. She managed to squeeze in behind it and got trapped between the window and screen.

Accepting the challenge of outsmarting my cat, I was determined that this window was going to stay open, and she wasn’t going to destroy it. However, she got around all of my fixes. I finally built a barrier out of wood and wire that sat in front of the screen, and was confident I had won. Yeah, in my dreams! She could climb on top of the barrier and slip behind it, which left her pushed up against the screen. I added a block of wood on top of the barrier to stop her from climbing over it, but she found a gap to wiggle through. An old slipper wedged in the gap finally did the trick!
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Do the Smartest Dog Breeds Make Better Pets?

By Linda Cole

The Border Collie sits at the top of the “smartest dog breeds” list, and the Australian Cattle Dog rounds out the list at number 10. The top ten breeds are quick to pick up things because they are intelligent, but there’s plenty of other breeds farther down the list that can also learn quickly – with the right motivation. The list is compiled by the American Kennel Club by looking at each breed to determine how many repetitions it takes for a member of a specific breed to learn new commands. For those at the top, it was five or less repetitions, and some learned a new command on the first try 95% of the time. But does that mean the smartest dog breeds are better pets?

Canine intelligence for the average dog is equal to that of a 2 year old child, and dogs that take longer to learn new things can master 165 words, signals and gestures. The smartest dogs are capable of learning even more words, which puts them at the learning capability of a 2½ year old child. You might think smarter dogs are easier to train and make better pets, but their IQ can be a double-edged sword when they use their smarts to manipulate us.

Even breeds with average intelligence are smarter than they are given credit for. Canines lower on the list of smartest dogs may take more repetitions to learn, but that doesn’t mean they can’t problem solve to figure how to escape from a fence, or “smooth bark” us into giving them a handful of CANIDAE Pure Heaven dog treats. Hounds, like the Beagle, place at the bottom on intelligence, but these breeds have no problem finding creative ways of escaping their enclosures.

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