Episode #10 of the course “The Smartest Animals on Earth“
On average, a dog’s brain is 1/10th the size of a person’s brain, although there are many different breeds of dog and ranges of dog brain size. However, dogs have been known through the ages to display remarkable intelligence and are often called “man’s best friend” for their loyalty and ability to empathize.
They are emotionally intelligent, recognizing and displaying a range of emotional responses, and they learn to make associations to anticipate future events. Many dogs are quick learners, and all dogs have some capacity to learn tricks that relate to the intelligence level of about a 2-year-old child. Some dogs, once taught a trick, will remember it for the rest of their lives.
Because dogs are naturally social creatures, they have their own systems for communication. Not only do dogs identify what others intend by the sound of their bark or growl, a dog can remember and recognize another dog by its “voice,” just as dogs become accustomed to certain human voices. Communicating so well is a benefit for humans, because dogs can understand dozens of commands.
Several dogs have been shown to understand and respond to hundreds of individual words that they can combine into complicated demands. The smartest dogs can process information and make connections on their own, such as being shown a photo of a new item and then choosing that item and delivering it to the instructed person. Some dogs have even tested highly enough on math tests that they are about as good at math as a 4-year-old child.
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