How To Tell If Your Dog Is A Genius

Young children learn new words very fast. ‎Can dogs do that too?‎ New research shows how exceptionally talented dogs can learn the names of objects after hearing them only four times.

However, they were only able to learn the new words when they heard them in a social context while playing with their owners. The study also found that the dogs' memory of the new words rapidly decayed ‎ after 10 minutes.

Check out this link for the full study:

How To Tell If Your Dog Is A Genius - The Article

Written by Jan Hoole


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Anyone who has lived with a dog will know their capacity for learning the meaning of words, even ones you don’t want them to know. How many times have you had to spell the words “walk” or “dinner” in the hope of avoiding an explosion of excitement?

Previous studies have investigated how non-human animals, including chimpanzees, sea lions and rhesus monkeys, learn words. But now a paper published in Nature shows some dogs learn the name of a new object after hearing it only four times, an ability previously thought to be confined to humans.

The researchers found this ability was not common among all the dogs studied, instead it may be limited to a few “talented” or highly trained individuals. So how can you tell whether your own dog is a genius or not?

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About The Author

Jan Hoole, Lecturer in Biology, Keele University

I came to Keele University in 1992 as a PhD student and have been here ever since. My first degree, BSc (Hons), was in Science and the Environment from Leicester Polytechnic. After completing my PhD on the molecular conservation of endangered insects, I began teaching part-time at Keele, while carrying out post-doctoral research on the effects of the tapeworm Ligula on the gonads of infected roach. I continued to teach part-time while running Ashley Pet Behaviour Centre and practicing as a Pet Behaviour Counsellor. In 2008 I closed the Pet Behaviour Centre and returned to take on a greater role at Keele, being appointed as a lecturer, still working part-time.

My particular fields of interest are animal behaviour and human evolution. I have helped to set up, and now manage, a final year module on Human Evolution, and I am still pressing to have more animal behaviour included in the curriculum. In addition I have forged links with various local zoos and each year run a variety of final year undergraduate projects looking at the behaviour of captive animals. I also help to organise open and visit days, and take part in many outreach activities.

And in 2015 I took up the role of Programme Director for Biology. In this capacity I am at present helping to steer the new Single Honours Biology programme through its validation stages. In 2015 I also gained Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

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